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C hapter 1 

Lowell Mason was born 8 January, 1792, at Medfield, Massachusetts. He was 
of English descent in the seventh generation from Robert Mason who settled at 
Roxbury, Massachusetts, prior to 1657. Whether or not Robert was of the John 
Winthrop Company, members of which originally settled Roxbury in 1630, is not 
definitely known, although in the light of two facts, taken in conjunction, it 
is not unreasonable to conclude that he was; first, his name does not appear 
in the emigration lists required under English law, and secondly, the list of 
members comprising the Winthrop Company was unfortunately lost. Clear it is, 
however, that Robert Mason was among the very early residents of Roxbury, 
since the vital statistics of the town record the death of his wife there in 
1637, and because the land records of Roxbury reveal that certain parcels of 
real estate once the property of Robert Mason were sold by him in 1639 and 
1640. Shortly following the loss of his wife, Robert, together with his 
three sons, Thomas, John, and Robert, Jr., moved to nearby Dedham, of which 
he was one of the original proprietors to whom grants of land were made in 
1642. Surviving his wife for a period of thirty years, Robert Mason died at 
Dedham, 15 October, 1667, in his seventy-eighth year. 

Thomas Mason, born in 1625 and next in the ancestral line of the subject 
of these pages, came out from England with his father Robert and other mem- 
bers of the family, and lived first at Roxbury, and later at Dedham* In 1650, 
Thomas, and his brother Robert, with several of their fellow-townsmen, were 
among the first settlers of that portion of Dedham since known as Medfield. 
The name of Thomas Mason appears in the list of signers, in 1664, of the 
Medfield Memorial to the General Assembly, as likewise in that of subscribers 
to the building fund of Harvard College at Cambridge. Medfield 's first re- 
corded marriage was that of Thomas Mason and Margery Partridge, 25 April, 
1653. A house lot on North Street, becoming their property by original grant 
from the town, remained as a homestead in the family for many years, until 
1915 in fact when Amos E. Mason, a great, great, great-grandson of its 
first owner, in his eighty-ninth year disposed of it. Thomas Mason, with 
two sons, met death at the hands of Indians, in a meadow opposite his home, 

during ti:e attack on Medfield under Monaco, in King Philip's Wax 
(1676). A third son perished (1677) while serving under Captain Sv/et's 
command against Indians "at the Eastward", now Maine. To Ebenezer 
Mason (1669-1754), the youngest child and sole male member of the family 
at the conclusion of the Indian war, Thomas's widow devised the home- 
stead; but he seems to have been determined that the line should not 
become extinct, for in course of time he became the father of no less 
than thirteen children. His wiff, Hannah, who was the daughter of 
Benjamin Clark, was also of Medfield; and the latter appears to have 
taken a prominent place in the town's affairs, having served as Select- 
man for seventeen years, as Town Treasurer for two years, and as Repre- 
sentative to the General Assembly. Incidentally, Benjamin Clark was at 
one time owner of the still-extant "Peak House", built in 1680, and 
locally so-called because of its unique outline. Benjamin's father, 
Joseph Clark, figures among the earliest settlers at Dedham, likewise 
as one of the original thirteen founders of Medfield. 

Ebenezer Mason served his town faithfully and well, having stood as 
selectman for seven years, Quartermaster in 1716, and Representative to the 
General Court in 1730. His fifth child but eldest son, Thomas (1699-1789), 
who left the ancestral home to establish one of his own in the northeast part 
of the town, emulated to a considerable degree his sire, since he was not only 
the father of ten children, but was elected on three different occasions Se- 
lectman of the town. Thomas had married, in 1772, f.lary Arnold, daughter of 
Mrs. Captain Sadey and her first husband, Barachias Arnold. 

To Mrs. Sadey 's father, Dr. Return Johnson, the first resident- 
physician of Medfield by the by, had been granted in 1680 a certain 


parcel of land on North Street (not far from the Thomas Mason piece) and 
on this land he erected the house in which he, with his family, passed his 
remaining years. Mrs. Sadey, at her father's de^th in 1707, bought out her 
companion heirs and settled, with her Captain, upon this estate; and here 
they continued to live until their deaths, hers in 1765, and his in 1774. 
She bequeathed the property to the eldest son of her daughter, Mary (and her 
husband Thomas Mason), Earachias (1723-1795), the grandfather of Lowell life- 
son. Thus this estate, also, became and remained for years a Mason homestead. 

Barachias Mason, a graduate of Harvard College in the class of 1742, ob- 
taining from his Alma Mater in 1745 the degree of Master of Arts, was a man 
of varied interests. He taught school, practised the art of surveying, became 
an inn-holder and for five years served the town as Selectman. Following the 
battle of Lexington, in '75, parades of soldiers, prior to the departure of 
the troops for the war, were held on his grounds. Fond of music, Barachias 
furthermore became a teacher of singing-schools, a calling in which his 
grandson, Lowell, was destined to become illustrious — thus exemplifying 
the dictum of the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table , that a boy's education 
should begin with his grandfather. Two sons, Johnson (1767-1856) and 
Arnold (1770-1857), were born to Barachias and his wife, Love hitney) Bat- 
tle, and in honor of forbears they were named. 

Johnson, the elder of the two, and the father of Lowell Mason, was a man 
of independent spirit and sterling character. Although too young to take 
part in the War of Independence, being but sixteen years of age at its con- 
clusion, he shortly thereafter entered with zeal into military- service, then 
so much in the thoughts of men. Commissioned as Captain in 1800, he obtained 
the rank and title of Colonel in 1805. He married^ i n 1791 Catherine 
Hartshorn (1768-1852), yclept "Caty", generally; and that the two mifht be 
near to Johnson's aging parents, but yet maintain a separate home, an 

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in 2014 

addition of another house v,as made, at the time of their marriage, to that 
of Johnson's father. Here they continued to live, with their growing 
family, for several decades, the homestead being bequeathed to Johnson by 
his father, who died in 1725. 

Johnson Mason served as town clerk from 1803 to 1821, as Treasurer for 
| a year, on the Board of Selectmen for three years, and as Represents tive in 
the Legislature in 184£. Early in the century, with George Ellis, also of 
Medfield., he formed a partnership for the manufacture of straw-goods, their 
product being taken for disposal to Boston and New York by wagon and team. 

Such journeyings were by no means free from peril; hence, prior to a 
person's departure, the minister vras called in to invoke divine protection 
and safe return. People lived in those days comparatively simple lives — 
they "went about so little", writes the historian John Fiske, "that even in 
a town so large as Philadelphia ^population then about 4£,OOoJ where Congres 
for so many years assembled, the sight of a stranger on the streets was apt 
to arouse curiosity, and an American who had crossed the Atlantic was sure 
to be pointed out, with the exclamation 'There's a man v. ho has been to 
Europe I ' ' ' 

Relatively few men of the time interested themselw es in manufacturing; 
those not allured by the sea, or by trade, for the most part tilled the 
soil, providing their livelihood by the cultivation of their own lands. Thus 
this pioneer straw-bonnet business of Mason and Ellis bespeaks enterprise 
on their part, ability, fortitude, and virile qualities generally. It must 
have sunk its roots furthermore well into the Medfield soil, for even to-day 
the principal industry of the town is the manufacture of straw-goods. 

The twofold dwelling, years subsequently, was diviaed in twain, the 
patrimonial house being moved northward to an adjoining lot, the other — the 
"addition" mentioned above and known to-day as the "Farmhouse", on AtjLajns 
Street — to a different section of the village. And in this latter it was, 


on a cold wintry ^tey in 1792, that a fervid, lusty cry, suddenly breaking 

forth upon the tense stillness of en expectant household, announced with a 
thrice-v/elcome assurance that the first-born child of Caty and Johnson Mason 
was a vigorous, healthy son. To this son was given the name Lowell Mason. 

Catherine Hartshorn Uason, the boy's mother, also born in Lledfield, 
was the ninth child of Loses and Elizabeth (Smith) Hartshorn. Her 
mother's family too had thriven in the town for generations, ever since 

Snglend in 1637, with Elizabeth, as his wife also was named, and moved 
thither in 1651. This Henry Smith and likewise the successors of the 
line through three generations (each of whom bore the given name, 
Samuel) won and held the good-will and confidence of their fellow 
townsmen, and were called in turn to various positions of trust which 
they creditably filled, whetner as deacon of the church, town clerk, 
toY?n treasurer, selectman, or representative to the General Court. 

During the Indian massacre of 1678, Caty Hartshorn's great, great, 
grandmother Elizabeth (Turner) Smith, while striving to reach a fort for 
protection, had been attacked and killed. In her arms she carried her 
youngest child, little Samuel, one and one-half years old; falling to 
the ground he was stunned, and abandoned by the Indians as dead. 
Happily, he forthwith regained consciousness; instinctively creeping 

Caty's great, great, maternal grandfather, Henry 



back to his mother, dead though she lay, he was soon found beside her body and res- 
cued. Throughout a long life he never ceased to praise God for so rairaculous an es- 

Thus for a second time was spared the line from which sprang the subject of these 
pages . 

Another ancestor of Caty Hartshorn, her great-great-great-grandfather, Henry 
Adams, had fallen a victim (1676) of the Indian attack under Monaco. Born in England 
in 1604, Adams settled at Medfield in 1652. Forceful and dependable of character, 
he became in time the principal military officer of the settlement and also served 
as its first clerk; chosen repeatedly as Representative and Selectman and having 
been possessed of a considearable acreage of land he appears, all in all, to have 
been one of the prominent men of affairs in Medfield' s early history. 

Caty Hartshorn's brother, Moses (1759-1826), locally known as "Captain Moses," 
served successfully as minute-man and as regular in the war of the Revolution. 

Ancestors of Lowell Eason, then, had lived for generations in this stanch Hew 
England settlement and were indeed fairly indigenous to it. From the town's in- 
ception members of the family had been active in its affairs, eager and earnest in 
its progress, part of its very warp and woof. For its welfare they had labored; 
counselled for its rights and devoutly aided in its spiritual growth. Shoulder to 
shoulder, with neighbors and friends, they had given of their life's blood for the 
community's protection. In common with Pilgrim and Puritan settlers in general they 
patterned their lives according to the right as they saw it; they believed that 
freedom to worship and to serve God in their own pious manner, without didtation, 
was their inalienable prerogative, and to this principle despite privation, perse- 
cution and suffering, they held unflinchingly steadfast. In so doing, they made 
contribution, to such extent as was in their power, to the character of the nation 
whose corner-stone they thus helped to lay. 

f-oiq e 1 


Chapter 11 

The town of Medfield, on the eastern bank of the Charles River, 
lies about eighteen miles from Boston in a south-westerly direction. 
To all intents and purposes the distance must have seemed considerably 
in excess of eighteen miles, however, prior to the establishment of 
railway connection between the two points, somewhat less than eighty 
years ago. 

Nature was apparently in happy mood when she conceived the region 
hereabout; for upon it she bestowed gracefully rising hills, rich low- 
lands, spacious open plains and reaches of woodland, ponds, prattling 
brooks, and springs of cool, bubbling water. As if with an eye, further- 
more, to the welfare of generations yet to come she obviously bade the 
anfractuous river, now forming the western boundary of the town, to 
render so fertile the valley through which it flowed that grasses flour- 
ishing there and swayed by sunnier breezes might grow as tall as men. 
Indeed, the unlimited supply of this luxuriant growth at Boggestow (for 
so the valley was called in early days) as seen from the Indian trail 
running over the slope of Mount Nebo Hill, a mile to the eastward, went 
far toward persuading the town* s original thirteen settlers to quit 
their former homes at Dedham and to set up new ones here: and likely 
enough the name they chose, often spelled Meadf ield in olden records, 
is traceable to the meads, or meadows, that flank the river, and to 
the so-called great field , near-by, which subsequently became the site 
of the village. 

To a petition duly drawn up by Ralph Wheelock and his twelve 
associates and presented to the General Court, that body, in May, 1651, 



■mm m 

boor? \cqq«rf nl ^Ifnaifiyqe a«tf Sturm. 
rM nfr 11 ??*! ▼XIirle'OfiT" Lowoi'aoc' oris frl ftocjiJ lol ji'jjoo'Beion 
»baoi7 .brtfilbocnr *io ean'oaei bus ajti.clq iraqo t 8Dftai 
tj £f tvT 11 .ibtw sailiWw? «Xooo *c BgnHqi bna ^iooid 
imJ-Tf^o arfe einoo o* + J"6Y ano idvsn wm»8 1o auallw anr oj »©*Xoai 

. ^ d-iivict t*t«nd isiTEiu* -{d boY** 2 **** eva-itf SKlrfai 

- .,, & f., r vfn"B ^eXIa^ 8£r/ vellfiv arid" oa 

^ «r*fli a JEi odeti &Ki'oV lo aqola oni" tevo anictfin 

oeno won ar *»a 8* bos isxidbad t« e< 

by an act entitled "Medfield* s Power", granted its sanction in the 
following word st 

"There beinge a towne lately erected beyond 
Dedham, in the County of Suffolke, uppon Charles 
river, called by the name of Meadfield, uppon their 
request made to this General Court, this Court hath 
graunted them all the power and privileges which 
other townes doe injoy according to law." 
With this step accomplished, the settlers lost no time. Several 
in fact, anticipating favorable action on the part of the Court, already 
had made selection of lots of land, while the balance, now increased by 
twenty-six additional families, promptly followed suit— for these men 
neither believed in nor practised procrastination, but exemplified rather 
the truth of the adage, where there's a will there's a way. What with 
the appointment of a board of selectmen, a further granting of house lots 
to yet newer comers, and early preparations for the building of a meet- 
ing-house, Medfield was well underway as an individual township— its 
future development and success being dependent upon the integrity, ability 
and judgment of its own people. That these qualifications were not want- 
ing seems to be evident from an early action of the townsmen in voting 
hl5 to establish "A schoule for the education of the children." 
Mr. Wheelock, justly called the "Founder of Medfield", was appointed the 
school's first master. 

The meeting-house stood at the centre of the town* And well in 
truth it might, for it was itself the centre of the life and thought 

of the community, offering, as its name implies, place for meetings, 

whether civic, social or religious* Here the people met for the 

erit oi: MMHMll t.ti betawts ,"i«wo4 a'bleillalf 'leltitrra toa na Trtf 

acXieiiO aocrqu »a*f»Hll8 1o Vv*mjoO arlt at ,«f 
ixeflt noqqu «hXai*ibj0aW lo araaa erit yrf bollao «i 

i-folriw eesellr tiq f:c« -xoroq ©lit II* raortt bstf 
" »wet ot gitifeicooia vet,/!! aob eerwot 1 

lis ,t*iuoO oxit 1© t-xaq erft no ncitoa eXd^mov^ ptfH 


v*w « - f —•"iiit f r; e a'^iarit a'larfir oslbIcs 

aauorf sttxtcuna ^ritrnl * t neash>alaa lo taaotf a * 

eas !o yiibUtud exit 10I 9tioltsrtJbq&rq fjMH boa 
atx-- qxrfarwot Xftublvibtdfe rta as Tjawxab/w Hew a#w bli 

roc eisw 8acitx:ox'l£li«*p aacrft tariT .alcfoag ;t*c at 

ishmjo'i" erit beXCco *{Itaut trfcoleeifw •**» 

itxtaa §xit *b boots seuori-anrteaxa orfT 
Baa aiit llsetx nm tl to* «txi2x;c ti ritint 

r »«»vr at! afi -Mfibiello .v-ixxiucraoo on*;*" "to 



consideration of public interests; here they convened in friendly spirit 
and social fellowship; and here the devout and earnest settlers assembled 
on the Sabbath Day to worship Almighty God; to sing their songs of praise 
from the Bay Psalm-book and to listen to the reading and expounding of 
the Scripture* s sacred text. 

From the meeting-house, furthermore, came inspiration to the towns- 
people in their daily activities, as well as constantly renewed incentive 
to advance "the Gospel", as William Bradford wrote in citing the reasons 
which induced the Pilgrim Fathers to come to America, "the Gospel of the 
Kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world: yea, though they 
should be even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so 
great a work." 

To the Puritans, as to the Pilgrims who preceded them, religion 
was the summum bonum ; Puritanism, in large part, at least, was religion - 
and an essential factor in the expression of that religion was psalmody, 
or psalm- singing* Between religion and music, there existed in Colonial 
days, as there exists today and ever must, a very close tie* Indeed, the 
history of music in America for the first one hundred and fifty years or 

more is largely the history of the music of the church, or psalmody. 

Psalmody, to the Puritan, was the exercise and worship of heaven; there 

was just so much of heaven on earth, as there was of the true spirit of 


Such was the Puritans attitude toward his music. As for his practice 
of it, his manner of utilizing his music, or, in a word, his singing, that 
is quite another matter; and this we shall consider in the following chap- 
ter. Here, however, let us quote a paragraph or two 

I. See Psalmodia , by F. Freeman. (Pub. by J. Whetham, Philadelphia, 1836), 

-a two J" ©x'J- at 

ITT? A- 

t a-tHcU-tit xu£n 8 m erf* feeoufcit: 
o a vise »i"ocwT aso/if - nl jNaiirfD xo 1 
v. o Ov 4iij ■5>nc>va**^jytx r 7tjdi» 3 aa nave scf 

10 q 

rft O* B.B t 1 

►alt eeolo ^->y B «£tMi 

iq *io ,no*iwro aria" to oxexar ciu" 

as ,rfd~ix;o rto xk 

2 Lk rr_f" Q r i* r*ff* t v*y ft j it r 

)J"airf arti 1 Tflesifil ai a-roar 
tfttifl erf* of t "xbotrI&a e l« 
>e tnti'r a;ar fieri* suoveeH 
' .vosisaq to J\rrxcj8 ei/iJ" 
ta a •rta* Liifl ©rf* eetr rfo«2 

hk mat a 1 r{ 





from the late William S. Tilden* s A Sunday in the Old Towne I'.eeting-house . and 
for a two-fold reason. In the first place the picture drawn by Mr. Tilden is 
not only enlightening as to the grievous state of the singing-service in pub- 
lic worship at the time of Medfield 's settlement, but it may be taken as typi- 
cal of the condition to which song-service in general had deteriorated, a con- 
dition persisting for upwards of a century and a half; and in the second place, 
because between this deplorable condition of church music and the labors of the 
man whose life-work we would in this volume describe, there existed a definite 
and close relationship. 

"The exercises of the morning then began", writes Mr. Tilden, "with singing 

1 2 
from the Bay Psalm-book. Not many of the people had books. Mr. Wilson (the min- 

5 4 

ister), Mr. Tfoeelock, George Barber, the deacon, and a few others, of course, 

were able to have and to use books; but, as some were not fluent readers, and 

the rest did not know the words by heart, it was necessary to have them 'lined 

off, — that is, the first line was 

1. The first printing establishment (the Stephen Daye press) in America, north 
of Mexico, was set up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1658, the first piece 
of printing in the American colonies, The Freeman's Oath , came off the press 
in 1659, while the first printing in book form was the famous Bay Psalm Book, 
in 1640. The press is now the property of the Vermont Historical Society. 

2. The Rev. John Wilson (1621-91), born in England, was a member of the first 
class to graduate from Harvard College (1642); he became, in 1651, Medfield *s 
first minister, his pastorate continuing until the year of his death. 

5. Ralph Wheelock (1600-85), a dissenting preacher, left his native England at 
the time persecution there was at its height. He came first to Watertown, 
Massachusetts, then to Dedham, and because of his activity in the settlement 
of the neighboring town he won the epithet "Founder of Medfield". 

4. George Barber (c. 1615-85), came out from England in the Transport . 4 July, 
1655. As one of the leaders in establishing Medfield he took a foremost part 
in its civic affairs. 

5. The custom of lining -off was introduced into America from England, c. 1640. 



read (aloud) by some one and then sung, the second and each succeeding 
line being treated the same way through the whole psalm. 
"The congregation knew only about three or four tunes, mostly in common 
metre, — i.e., lines of eight and lines of six syllables alternating? 
and these were old English or Scotch tunes, much perverted by many years 
of singing entirely by guess. But, as those who struck the first word 
had to hold onto it until the rest could get hold, the notes were dragged 
out to a fearful length, a man once declaring that he had to take breath 
twice in one note. 

"After the line was read, some man who could, or thought he could, 
started off on a tune; and the rest followed, one part being all that 
was aspired to. There was no instrument of any kind, no pitch-pipe nor 
choir; and if he who 'tuned the psalm*, as they called it, so that the 
tune v©uld come within the range of the voices, 'without squeaking too 
high or grumbling too low', the psalm might be got through with." Again, 
"John Crimpton tuned the next psalm. He succeeded in pitching 'Windsor' 
all right, and the people got through with the lines of the first verse 
safely. But Goodman Thurston, who had just found the place in his old 
Psalm-book, and who had a strong voice, started the second verse with 
'Old Hundred', the people following him who sang the loudest. If the 
tune had been in the same metre as the psalm, the congregation would 
have ended in the 'Old Hundred* good and strong; but, when they came to 
the short line, disaster overtook them, and Thurston retired in good 
order, leaving his competitor in possession of the field. H 

While these quotations from "A Sunday in the Old Towne Meeting- 
house" bring to us a quickening sense of the crudity of those far-away 
times, there flashes upon our minds in vivid contrast as well a realiza- 
tion of the musical progress and achievement in America since those times. 

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, , , .j. f, A + R1 wj4. Tjitieo' eaxX 

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, , « _ . _ ir i. .i^+f.-jp /fair*!/!' 7 bXo ©""rn sgQtii' bita 

fnow tsiix arid - orfw aoorfJ- a* «i"wH .aaaag ytf ^a^tn* gac^aia lo 

gsa-xb mw aaJoa arf* ,bXori teg bXwoo taanc arf* Xi*au *x ©*fto bXorf oJ" had 

, . . . . . m. -,-t- e f«f Mm * .rii^iiaX Xuxtaei a oi two 

J-saicf *<a* oJ" bflri an Jxrfx jaxTcaxoax aaoo nam jj f"^"* x 

. &j"oa ©00 ax aoxwx 
bXuoo arf frrfai/orii" to .bXcoo ortw rjbt oraoa «bx»*>"i 2B\v ooiX arf«h isfrlA 
tadt XIo s«lecf ;Hsq axio «bew©XXox taai orf* baa |Mif a no tt« betiaie 
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. ,,, t i w j* «»„ A-omt sjij" oioro bXuow saif* 

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«*»frf« h-jxtbciA njt fnemarnxAon brt? eaatjonq Xaoiawa arft xo aoxx 


And if it is in the emancipation of this plain, distorted Psalmody, 
from its limited conception on through years and generations of toil and 
effort to "broader and more appropriate conditions, that we see its 
glorification, do we not find there as well its vindication? However 
we may criticize it, howsoever we may wish it had been otherwise, it 
still was a starting- point— an incunabula of music in America, 

Of all the men through whose labor and influence release from so 
crass a condition was brought about, none played so telling a part in 


the musical reformation which ultimately followed as Lowell Mason. 
Endowed by nature with signal gifts as a teacher, with a passion for 
music from childhood, and through a character forceful and reverent, he 
was enabled to establish here, early in the nineteenth century, an 
appropriate form of music for the church and to lay the foundation of 
a more intelligent understanding and appreciation of worthy music, secu- 
lar as well as sacred, than had theretofore existed. 

To grasp the significance of both his purpose and his achievement, 
it may be well to consider conditions as he found them and to trace, in 
brief at least, the tortuous course of psalmody prior to his time. 

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Chapter 111 

With that marked tenacity of purpose so characteristic of their 

tL /fat- O 

lives, the Separatist Pilgrims on landing at Plymouth allowed no 
obstacles, however numerous or menaciig, to interfere with their regu- 
lar observance of the Lord's Day. And although at the outset their 
place of worship was but the cabin of the Mayflower * it was not long 
before they were enabled to hold their services in a 

"Timber fort both strong and comely 
With flat roof and battlements*'. 

To this retreat of hallowed rudeness the men and women, assembling 

at beat of drum, made their way each Sabbath in line of march— the men 

well-armed with firelock muskets and side-arms against the attack of any 


invading foe, be it skulking Indian or ravenous wolf. 

Here they continued to worship, M on Sundays and usual holidays", 
until they completed, in 1648, their first Meeting-house; and here too 
they retained as an essential part of their religious service the form of 
devotional music to which in England and Holland they had been accustomed. 
This was Psalmody— or the singing in the vernacular of metrically ar- 
ranged versions of the Biblical Psalms. The singing was unisonal, and 
congregational, but without instrumental accompaniment; the Psalm versions 
being set to melodies culled from various sources. 

And though to trace the history of Psalmody in its manifold 

1. In the New York Public Library hangs a painting, by George Henry 
Boughton (1834-1905), impressively depicting this scene. 


ramifications were to pursue a flexuous, mazy path— albeit one of allur- 
ing interest to a student of the subject — it may, we trust, suffice our 
present purpose to note that in 1612 the Rev. Henry Ainsworth (15707-1623), 
leader of Separatist refugees, brought out in Holland, whither in 1593 
he had fled from England, a collection of Psalm translations bearing his 
name. Of its thirty-nine different tunes or melodies, the author in his 
Preface writes as follows* 

Tunes for the Psalms, I find none set of God; so that 
each people is to use the most grave, decent and comfort- 
able manner of singing that they know. The singing notes 
therefore I have most taken from our former Englished 
Psalms, when they will fit the measure of the verse; and 
for the other long verses, I have also taken (for the most 
part) the gravest and easiest tunes of the French and Dutch 

Such, then, was the book of music-worship brought hither by the 
Pilgrims in 1620— such the Psalter from *ahich they sang during their 
voyage across the sea, and to -which Governor Winslow referred in record- 
ing that, 

Wee refreshed ourselves with singing of psalms, making 
joyful melody in our hearts as well as with the voyce, 
there being many of our congregation very expert in 
music, and indeed it was the sweetest music that mine 
ears ever heard. 

This Ainsworth Version, earliest collection of church music for 
congregational use in America, held undisputed sway in the Plymouth 
colony through many years, or until 1692 in fact; in Salem also its 
vogue continued for a generation or more, though Puritan communities 
elsewhere in New England, and notably at Boston (1630), clung for a 
while to a considerably older version of the Psalms, that of 1562, 
by Sternhold and Hopkins (first complete metrical translation to appear 
in England). 

»* iv Lis: 10 rite tl&6 Lz-^A&bo < e ucuxa II a 3 uaiixi ox aiva* aaoxtBoxlxawx 

"two t> stilus, .J* .iiJ t*r .','flia xI-'-XDefo'ue erfx Tto xrtttbuxa s of xaaTexox 'a/tx 
S3I-?0?2I) rfx-xcwaniA x* 1 " 6 ^ «veH arix 2 Id I rut xxdx oxoa ox eaoq-tjjq xnaao-xq 
oi "rarfxldv (btuJIoH xti xjjo M:;uo-(d .a^egi/iar xaxxjrraqoa to Tabaol 
aid gor/ioad anoxxalafwrx asSnsH. lo noxxoelloa b ,bf:slsrtH mil be O b.eri ad 
aid tti Todxua arfx t eexboIaa *ro aenux xneToliib aoia-vxTxrx axx 10 .aswifl 

jswoCIc! air aaxiTr fflttttl 

xartx oa M 'to xaa aocn bail I .aioLie^ adx to* aeau? 

-XTr/laoo bos *n3oab .ovaia xaorr artr aaa ox ex elooec rices 

arix Tarixcri Xftgx/OTu cTLr{oTOv*-0X3Jjfli xo <ioco enX a&v ^xsorix <rio*; 
•xxeiix gwHtih gtusa ^dt rfoxrfcr acxl Taxlfi</I arix douo--029I nl as 

>o»t ni beTTaxaT ^ola/ti' TorneYo£ rfaixfc* o x bna »aaa arix aaoiox» 


'M arix at YBfr'z be fix 

a to 

T£S©<rqj5 O- 

t 6toai to no 
x* vldaxun 

a to i bewixxnoc bjjj 
Ian? 7 weK ni &ran>e« 



In both the Sternhold and Hopkins and the Ainsworth Psalters music 
was printed as well as verses, though melodies only, since unison sing- 
ing, as we have seen, was the general custom. 

As the Pilgrims reached the shore of a strange, uncouth land, their 
sturdy ship Mayflower anchored off the Cape Cod coast, "the men", we are 
told, "landed and worshipped God with prayer and the singing of Psalms"; 
and beyond question there may be seen today in the Ainsworth Version the 
first song of praise and thanksgiving ever offered up in New England to 
Almighty God. Vividly may we imagine the heartiness with which it was 
sung, the depth to which it stirred those earnest souls— the song's 
message reflecting their inmost feelings and transcending all else for 
them, as in their transport of joy and exultation they lifted their voices 
to their Maker. 

"And the stars heard, and the sea. 
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang 
To the anthem of the free!" 

By no means out of keeping with the severe environment of the sett- 
lers were the unadorned tunes they sang; nor is it difficult to fancy 
that in those initial days their melodies were sung with a considerable 
degree of excellence, —an excellence that waned, alas, as years went by 
until what with the multiplying complexities of life and the lack of any 
intelligent musical guidance it vanished completely! 

Illuminating as to this point ere the pertinent words of the late 
Professor Waldo S. Pratt (1857-1939): 

"In regarding all melodies of these old days," /'he writes, 
"we must not forget that the Pilgrims moved in a song- 
atmosphere quite different from that which is common today. 
Melodies were mostly caught by ear and caught from an actual 
singing-voice, not from an organ, harpsichord or similar 
instrument. They were thought of as pure melodies, not as 
contours of a flowing stream of key- board harmony. And they 

m*n* hp rtp?rni/ ^a<^i"8 »vXno BO-cboXoci rf*sifc 

,r»ua ©ran aw a« 
earns!!*! ©ri± eA 

I'-anTae-I lo 311X30X8 orf* toe -le^-nq rltirw boC b*qql rftnoy tea fcabttDl" «bl< 
arid* flois -ioV /[JrtoranycA arid* kx ^abcd" xreea at/ xaa s-ieriu noxd-aejjp fenc^aC bj 
od" bttaXan3 woH at ou beia^lo neve £axvi8/■;J^fl J a^^r buz eviirx; to anon d*arx. 
aev tl r'oiriw AS-rv aaenxdnflerf ©rit anxg/Mnr *$aia v,Ii>ivi^ ,fcoC rtdgta; 

a'gnca ©rid--- eXuce tzwrtito modi- banxte #1 dox.'fw oi" rfdqsb ©rid- ,5a 
to* XJLs sct/bHao^nini' bo**< a^n^X©©^ J"B0fl8ti "Tjfcerid"'oaXl©'! as^aat 

2s»oxov TXax:J" b©d**ii:X floiJ'*J"X.ux« biifi ^ot So d-ronanxrii - ixeffd - ni up t oai 

.nejtsl! liedi 

* Asa ©ftf r 'fto b'ljsa.'' bip^g ?>iid* hitA M 

1 lae*t^ ©rid* 1c is»*)i'W"ttB erfJ" oT 
-tj-ea ftftt to dTtaanoiiivriie enev©a s^J - rl*hhr sxtlqooi lo d"i/o sc.-jac; on xGf 

,, *» f*j» j- fiui rVi hh d\t t>f *iorr l^tisr I var"-^ G9fiijd" 1>9 m o b "fi / J sfu^ ciow an 

olo'/nobianoo a rfd\tw shjjb ©707? eex. ; oXeot nxotft avBb X-ird-xzir aaoiU" ai f» 
tnev aTcav an «8jbIb «benjw tjarid- eottoXIeoze aa— «©03»XX90xe lo ©an*| 
vna *o ionl ©rid - bat; ©1x1 lo a©xtxx*Xeir»co &ruvXGXi , Xxj:rr ©rid" itrMx &ntfrr Zif 

!xX©J-aJCq«o© bariai.aev crx aooabxti-sj Irolnua •TKeslXIai- 
noaaele-rt lo ate car #it©o©n ©rid- on© d-ni oq cirid- of bb grjxfrjaxtxsra/XXlx » 
vris£ilsB8& Xsoi'ioXoariT bicldrftK arid* lo •d'r.enl #3 obX 

were amalgamated with actual words, text and tune 
standing as one indissoluble unity. Doubtless, too, to 
these old singers, because they were singers, every 
melodic interval, every scale-tone and movement had 
point and meaning to a degree of intensity that is rare 
in popular feeling today. We can recover the artistic 
color of these old songs only through the help of some 
specially sympathetic interpretation by a trained vocal 
interpreter, or, failing that, through some dextrous ad- 
dition of the chord- effects that we now expect as a mat- 
ter of course. In all attempts at reproduction careful 
attention is due to the shaping and animating force of 
the varying line- rhythms, and these deserve in many cases 
to be studied with reference to their derivation from the 
vigorous movements of the sprightly folk-dance. It may 
be guessed that the tempo originally was not slow or 
heavy but lively and sparkling, and that the accents were 
full and hearty. 

Thus regarded and handled, these old tunes prove any- 
thing but monotonous or dolorous, or even very strange to 
our taste. Many of them turn out to be true works of 
simple art, not only admirably adapted to their purpose, 
but appealing to any healthy appreciation. Yet, at the 
best, we cannot be sure that we can fully enter into 
their spirit. We no longer have quite the same religious 
absorption in the belief that with the Psalms for text we 
are singing what the very hand of God wrote for the per- 
petual use of His people. And, on the musical side, we 
no longer have the subconscious sense of those medieval 
or ecclesiastical modes that were still vital and potent 
in the minds of singers in the Elizabethan era, with the 
shadowy atmosphere of tone- relations that hung about 
them like a delicate auraT 

A happy view is this to take of the Pilgrims* music-making, and 
also, we like to believe, a just one. Would that with equal justness 
it might be applied to the music-making of our ancestors who, in sue- 
ceeding years, followed "these old singers"!' -3 But such cannot, in all 
truth, be done; for the fact remains that as time sped on, the sing- 
ing of the impressive, unaffected tunes became more and more perverted, 

1. See pp. 18 and 19 of The Music of the Pilgrims , by Waldo Selden 
Pratt, (Oliver Ditson Company, Boston, 1921). 

t* aitt iovoogt oflo oW .^flfco* ptf§Mft f^Ixiqoc; xtl 


ofal iefne ^Ut/x has a?/ dv-irit a-rus ocT Joins? ©w «Jaecf 
-taq art* nol et<mr fco-D So 'rtisri x~ ti3Y goisoia aua 

ttiBtoq btia Lnilr JiLifre eiov turf* Betas /jsoitaxilaeloo* io 

".ssitv* ttftollfti ■ eill. caui* 

btie t.-v- '' aa-oxeuK 'eut'igli? e/^d" lo ©leJ* at ejitf" si weir v/iq^ A 
'C'OiiwUitf^ . ^jjp y iv.txv/ ."'-r* oxUQi* • )uc TSL*^ £ jeVOx X&O OJ* oxxx aw jOBXil 
-OJJB ni ,ortw atofeeoae iuc xo yjxlixn-aiauv arfJ- o« bailqqB erf t&gtm tl 
I Lb fli ( J*ofutfl0 xioie tirC '^e'.ie.'^axe Mo a#*>rf;v" bewclloi iltaa^ gitioeeo 

• tbotoeriaq a-roxo baa %toa emcoed" a^m/J- istoexxjiur ,©vxcae*rqtti erf* lo gxti 


.crq e©8 .1 


a condition brought about in large degree no doubt through the publi- 
cation in 1640, at Cambridge, of America's earliest Psalter, colloqui- 
ally called The Bay Ps^lm Book , though more exactly, according to the 
original imprint, The whole book of Psalms faithfully translated into 
English metre. 

Dissatisfaction with the translations of Sternhold and Hopkins 
and other Psalters— as being too free and not in perfect accord with 
the Hebrew original— prompted various leaders among the clergy 
here to prepare a more literal rendering of the scriptural text; and 
"though they blessed God", as Cotton Mather later declared in his 
great Church History of New England, the Magna! ia, "for the religious 
endeavors of them who translated the psalms ****** yet they 
beheld in the translation so many detractions from, additions to, and 
variations of, not only the text, but the very sense of the Psalmist, 
that it was an offense unto them.". 

The Bay Ps«1n> Book was the result, the outcome of the labors of 
the disapproving divines; and although as to what extent they suc- 
ceeded in producing a preferable translation is a point which need 
not detain us here, certain it is that they unfortunately failed as 
regards an important desideratum in any adequate Psalter, for The 
Bay Psalm Book as at first published contained no music whatsoever. 
As a consequence, singing from memory was perforce the custom. But 
in as much as Mnemosyne— at times a fickle goddess — delights now 
and again in tricking her votaries into forgetfulness, she is not 

1. Known also as The New England Version , this was the first 
actual book printed in the Colonies* 

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iX ©K»r! ^lelo arfX gnome aiecae! e/joxtf.v x>a4"qaoiq— XaaXsxTfo wairfeH arfX 
hita :XxeX I<nnXgXioa a;(X lo g:ix*tt>: as-: It itfX I aic:? a rxaqaiq 

b i»XcX ttMfMM fioXXoO 8J 


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jXexcrlaa'T oiiX lo oenee ^pcev exiX X-jtf r txt*X ©riX ylflo ton ,!o anoXX^Xnav 

* m f mdt oXau aaaallo tte 8/ar XX X«riX 

atocfal ©r(X lo anooXuo sriX ,XIue©i artX ©jbw iocS af aa^. 
-oua \^ar'X Xn->Xxa XartV oX 8c rlgoodXIa bnc jaanXvih jaXvotqqaaX/) srfX 
boon rfaXrte XnXoq a aX noxtalaainX ©XdTcelaiq « gni out onto nX fwtaao 
en belXfil vlaJ'apffHQlttl ^©rfX XarfX si: XX nX«X*reo t»rx©ri eu cXfiXa^ Xon 
©HjT icl (TeXXaa'i oXajjoebr? ^na ni WjCMMWli XnsX*roqfli r rta abi^a 1 ! 
.T©veoaXsrto oXsjjoi ort baninXnoo beristlWwq Xaixl X* ea joc fl Ijbtf M | 
**u3 aiooXa us ©rtX aoTol*T©Q exnr yioraocrc oo*xl gnXsoXa »©onaupaQnoo s qA 
'7CB b Xri^X £©b"""*3a©ooo3 axjioxx a 3©inx» *™a o noiiw a ■ fi» unj a/j ui. 
Xon ax arts «aaanXiA-t9«ol otnx aaXiatov Tori gnxioXiX nX nXaga bna 

^ootf .CjjuXo© 


always the safest of guides to follow. So it was with the fathers; 
and the more they attempted to sing by rote, to memorize their songs, 
the more distorted their songs became. 

Eager to rectify conditions so deplorable, and with a view of pav- 
ing the way toward a revision of The Bay Psalm Book, the Rev. John 
Cotton (1585-1652), "Patriarch of New EnglandJ'/^published in 1647 his 
Singing of Psalms a Gospel Ordinance — a treatise in tshich under four 
different captions he set forth measures and means for improvement: 

la Touching the duty itself. 

(Singing of Psalms with a lively voyce, is an 
holy Duty of God's worship now in the dayes 
of the New Testament). 

2. Touching the Matter to be Sung. 

(We hold and believe that not only the Psalms 
of David, but any other spirituall songs re- 
corded in Scripture, may lawfully be sung in 
Christian Churches). 

3. Touching the Singers. 

(Whether one be to sing for all the rest; or 
the whole congregation? 

Whether women; as well as men; or men alone? 
Whether carnall men and Pagans may be permitted 
to sing with us, or Christians alone, and 
Church members?) 

4. Touching the Manner of Singing. 

(It will be a necessary helpe, that the words 
of the Psalm, be openly read beforehand, line 
by line, or two lines together, so that they 
who want either books or skill to reade, may 
know what is to be sung, and joyne with the 
rest in the duties of singing.) 

Having thus stated the questions pertinent to the occasion, Cotton 
then proceeded with full and logical replies thereto. And it is int- 
eresting to note that his advocacy of giving out the Psalm "beforehand, 
line by line, or two lines together", was due to the unfortunate absence 
of a printed notation, to the paucity of psalmodies possessed by the 
singers, and to their lack of "skill to reads"/ Tunes had been handed 
down traditionally from parents to children, as generation succeeded 

id" 9SI*£ OfaOG! fit 

row ar't bus 

aeiunaoxa rtf-tol tea exl cnci: 
fclMii Ytyb eut salrfouoT . 

to tnsci 8/*- 


10 86 



generation, while so numerous had been the errors and interpolations 
adopted that even the melodies themselves had lost their identity. 

But be it here recorded, that the confusing practice of "lining 
out", or "deaconing" the Psalm (#iich originated in England as an out- 
come of a recommendation In Ifrfrl by the Westminster Assembly) was to 
obtain for many a year, becoming in this country by 1750 a general 
customo Futile it were, if possible, to conjecture a procedure less 
appropriate to devotional service, less in keeping with the proper 
function of music in the service, or less promotive of a true compre- 
hending of the music's text, than that of our fervent ancestors as they 
listened, before singing, to the "lining out" of a Psalm, thus: 

first read aloud by a deacon or clerk, then sung by the congregation; 
and, after a pause, the second line in similar manner: 

and so on, breaking the harmony of the verses, throughout the entire 

As several of the Psalms comprised one hundred lines or more, and 
since no two persons sang exactly alike as to either note or tempo, we 

may best leave to imagination the excruciating effect of so incongrous 

a practice. 

But before starting to sing at all, some member of the congregation 
must needs "set" the tune, as it was called, that a beginning at least 
might be made on a given pitch. And in Sewall's Diary , the oft- quoted 
Judge (who for many years "set" the tune at the Old South Meeting- 
house in Boston) cites an incident herein he was forced, unhappily, 
to accept a minor role: "In the morning 1 *, 11 he records, "I set York tune; 

"The Lord will come, and he will not 


Keep silence, but speak out 

si one art J" neod 

of 9em (' 

tedt .befcicoi 


rrf tr-» 


ussoa a-jxerral two To 
J ,£ilsa < ! s lo "fruo 

coo otit ^cf gnus oertd" 

At nave i-BriJ- fcatqob* 

ox oiyum *io ncihoni'l 
ox n urn erii lo scibnari 

; buoLa b£»i *aixl 
■ t asueq a letlis «b«\s 

said t ac 

; ir'.-aco sulLm 4 ! ^At to Liovas 3A 


: Ttory-io oJ - as orlxlfl ^ItssxQ 3«w»e enomeq ow± on oonle 
tootle sfllJ'Blotrioxo sitf noiJ"Bai:gafiil ot ev»el tsod xam 

.toltoxnq * 

indoor, enoa ,IXq Jjs sxrfa cJ" gextuaiB oiolocf cfuG 
id a tndt 9 b9lIao son tl «b ,*airf- otft "tee" a boon 
ifl'C e'XLove£ rl bnA rts3*i ct ire vis A «ro ©b*! od irf'in 

ab*x©o«vt art ''.''Mlffios art* nT" tefci tonl« ja tqoocE ot 


but in the second going over, the gallery carried it irresistibly to 
St, David's, iriiich discouraged me very much," (A queer experience, 
indeed, and doubly so since the two tunes neither begin nor proceed alikei) 

Nevertheless, despite its incongruity, the custom of "lining out" 
retained its hold pretty generally upon communions until after the War 
of Independence, though true it is that its swan song notes were pre- 
liminarily heard in 1779 at Worcester, Massachusetts. Here, at a pub- 
lic meeting called to determine whether or no "they should sing in the 
usual way or in the rulable way" — by rote or by note— it was duly voted 
"that the mode of singing be without reading the Psalms line by line 
to be sung." 

The day following was the Sabbath day? and the venerable Deacon 
Chamberlain, unapprised of the vote as he was, rose from his Meeting- 
house seat to comply with the duty of "lining out" the Psalm: but the 
singers, cognizant of the voted-change, entirely disregarded him. 
Loudly reading on until quite vanquished, the Deacon, seizing his hat 
withdrew in tears — only to be subsequently formally censured by the 
church and deprived for a time of its communion "for absenting himself 
from public worship"!''' 

But notwithstanding the distressing condition to which it had 
fallen, music continued to be enthusiastically regarded by the 
colonists as a sine qua non of their well-being. The morning serv'ce 
at the Meeting-house, in fact, opened with music. Nor was this all* 
for immediately following the expounding of a Bible-chapter and a 
prayer, a second Psalm-tune was sung, evidence sufficient that our 
early ancestors cherished church song as essentially important in the 
most absorbing phase of their lives. Although curiously unconscious 

airf ami eeot t rjj3r 

-irw »c jyiisttx* ebgo erf* 



of the potential beauty of the music, they none the less held fast to 
such music as they made. If ever a discerning guide was needed, such, 
it seems, was needed herel 

As the long-dravm tones of the second Psalm- tune, however, went 
the way of all mortal things, there presently appeared the convincing 
figure of the Tithing-man, pompously ready with his official ataff 
"to quiet the restlessness of youth, to disturb the slumbers of age"! 
Gravely sensible of the constabulary duty allotted him, this weighty 
dignitary forthwith placed on the pulpit an hour-glass — ceremonious 
signal that the sermon was to begin. Likely enough too the glass would 
needs be turned to mark a second hour ere the preacher came to his clos- 
ing phrase; for a discourse of bygone times, what with its manifold 
points of exegesis, its doctrinal insistences and protracted peroration, 
not infrequently ran on to an unconscionable length, on, on, and on. 
As its concluding period was finally reached, however, there were even 
yet to be observed the sacrament and the pronouncement of the benediction. 
A long service! But one significant, too, of an engrossing faith — and 
the more markedly so as we remind ourselves that Meeting-houses even in 
the depth of winter-time were never heated; that in lieu of the comfort- 
able pews of modern days benches of plain hard board, without backs, 
sufficed. With a definite portion of the Meeting-house assigned to the 
men, and quite another to the women, all seats were prescribed none the 
less in accordance with a committee's estimate declaring the relative 
importance of the congregation's members — a plan somewhat suggestive 
it would seem of an Aristotelian timocracy! But for the boys, toward 
whom the eyes of the Tithing-man constantly, caustically turned, space 
was reserved in cloest proximity to the pulpit (an inhibiting influence 



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i ^o^iooxrtxi- rtaxXai-cJ-a. 


.o eortsjtoqrix 


again on natural proclivities!); while up and down the aisles, ordinary 
stools, rude and uninviting, v/ere taken by the lasses and little girls 
of the parish. Taken, we say, for so alas they were; but, we fain 
would add, in being so taken they were thereby graced as well. And so 
to the staid and sombre scene — whose gloom found apt expression in the 
drawling, discordant singing — there was imparted a minim at least of 
buoyant freshness, an ineluctable touch of natural, human charm. For 
though the inherent characteristics of youth may be thwarted and dampened, 
never, laus Deo, can they be wholly stifled or annihilated, nay, not even 
by the bewildering influence of a sub-, an infra-, or a supra-, lapsari- 

But it is ever darkest just before the dawn. Early in the eight- 
teenth century the more sentient of the New England clergy, proponents of 
enlightenment and culture, clearly perceiving the lamentable state to 
which music had degenerated, took positive steps toward a betterment 
thereof. Progress was to be slow, naturally enough, and challenged by 
strenuous opposition; for so gradually had the decline come about, since 
the days of the excellent "old singers", that men and women now rejoiced 
in confused, cacophonous music, while a song in tune and time was 
actually unpleasant! 

Not so, however, with the small group of forward-looking divines, 
who, undismayed, remained steadfast for improvement. Staunch champions 
of reform were the clergymen Thomas Symmes (1678-1725), of Bradford, 
Massachusetts; John Tufts (1689-1750), of Medford and Newbury, ardent 
opposer of rote singing and compiler (c. 1714) of An Introduction to 
the Singing of Psalm Tunes , earliest colonial book of its kind, comprising 
thirty- seven tunes together with instructions for reading vocal music — 

,-j3tlni tin « lo eoa»uHtti nolle bltxedl atit v-J 

to* jo 

3J3VY 3/31 



though unfortunately rather confusing, as letters were used upon the 
staff in place of notes; Cotton Mather (1663-1728), too, and his nephew 
Thomas Walter (1696-1725), whose untimely passing came as a sorry blow 
to the religious interests of Boston, as indeed of all New England; 
Thomas Prince (1687-1758), for over forty years pastor of Boston' s Old 
South Church and who, in 1758, re-wrote The Bay Psalm Book : Solomon 
Stoddard (1643-1729), grandsire of America's famous early mystic and 
metaphysician, Jonathan Edwards (1703-58); John Eliot (1604-90), "the 
Apostle to the Indians", and various others. 

Repelling heated opposition, and attacking blind adherence to olden 
customs, these valiant worthies preached from their pulpits in no un- 
certain terms/! proclaiming the urgent need of an awakening, they ex- 
horted better performance in the songs of worship. 

As means to these ends, the Rev. Mr, Symmes contended in an Essay of 
1720 that the establishment of singing- schools would inevitably encour- 
age advance, while during the following year Rev. Mr. Walter edited and 
issued (from the press of J. Franklin, in whose workshop, Benjamin, his 
younger brother, was apprenticed) the first New England song book of any 
considerable musical merit, The Grounds and Rule s of Musi c explained ? 

Or an Introduction to the Art of Singing by Note ; Fitted to the meane st 

capacities . Containing twenty-four tunes in choral form for three voices, 
with notes on the staff rather than the perplexing letters of Mr. Tufts, 
this book marked an important step of development. In this book was 

1. A copy of this book (of probably the third edition, 1737) may be seen 
in the Lowell Mason Collection now in the Library of the Yale University 
School of Music. Its title page is missing; but the book bears the fol- 
lovdng note of explanation from him who in 1338 presented it to Lowell 
Mason: Stockbridge, Mass. , April 11/38. 


This had a title page which bore the date of 1737, if it is too 
old as to be new to you it may amuse you, if not, it may at least 
serve to mark the improvements of a Century of Music — to which 
you have contributed a full share, accept sriL with sincere regards of 

S. Rockwell. 


-xo vexit ,sf Ine dawa a a "fro Jbacm tixeaitr 


ax e 

printed al90 (for the first time in America) music with bars, thus 
dividing measure from measure. In 1722, furthermore, Mr. Walter pub- 
lished a Discourse, to his credit be it said, under the title: The 
Sweet Psalmist of Israel ; A sermon preached at the Lecture held in Boston 
by the Society for Promoting Regular and, Good Singing and for Reforming 
the Depravations and Debasements our Psalmody labours under, in order to 
Introduce the Proper and True Way of Singing . 

But such proposals seemed to the people at large all-too-radical. 
For them, Psalm- singing in the old habitual manner still remained the 
consecrated act of devotion, ordained as they believed by the Divine Will. 
It was not to be tampered with. Their treasured tunes — Oxford , York , 
Litchfield , for example, and Windsor , St . David* s , and Martyrs — they 
held to be as sacred as the Psalms themselves. These half dozen melodies 
they sang in their homes each day of the week, as well as at the Meeting- 
house on the Lord's day. At service they frequently continued their song 
for a full half-hour at one standing. "So great was the reverence in 
which their psalm-tunes were held", writes George Hood in his History of 
Music in New England , "that people put off their hats as they would in 
prayer whenever they heard one sung ." 

The thought of any change, of learning to sing by note, or of sing- 
ing an air correctly, met with no favorable reaction from the ultra- con- 
servative brethren. Even a suggestion of the slightest innovation was as 
sacrilege itself to the plain, pious natures of those pious, plain people. 
The old"traditional way" of singing — each one as each one pleased — 
they stoutly declared to be the best way. And in support of their stolid 
opposition they insisted that the proposed "rulable way" would be less 
melodious than the "usual wayV'that if "they began "to sing by rule , as a 

9dt baitlafsea Lllti 

.0 t t curvy 

■ ■ ., 


sno i"js tticri-11' 

[± lo ae-ntfee awciq t rcixXq ed& oi" 


correspondent expressed it in The New England Chronicle (1723), "the 
next thing would be to pray by rule and preach by rule and then would 
come popery "; that with an increased number of tunes one could never 
learn them all; that musical instruments would be introduced, and so 
forth and so on. 

But these objections, trivial to the reformers though they doubt- 
less seemed, were calmly, yet forcibly, met; while with laudable con- 
sideration for the earnestness with which the objections were made, 
logical, enlightening explanations promptly followed. Notable among the 
latter stand a tract by the Rev. Solomon Stoddard, Cases of Conscience 
about Singing Psalms ; likewise the previously-mentioned 1720 Essay by 
Rev* Thomas Symmes, The Reasonableness of Regular Singing , or Singing 
by Note , in which by the bye appeared a query rather difficult it would 
seem of refutation, viz., "If singing by note was not designed, why 
were the notes placed in our New England Psalm books?" as in fact had 
been customary with Psalters prior to The Bay Psalm Book . An Essay 
by Cotton Mather, also, under the caption The Accomplished Singer , 
served well its excellent purpose, promulgating Instructions how the 
Piety of Singing with a true devotion may be obtained and expressed ; 
the glorious God after an uncommon manner Glorified in it, and his 
people edified . Replete with suggestion, the Essay abounds as well 
in historical reference. 

But still the battle raged. Excitement waxed intense. Feeling 
rose to sheer bitterness, while party quarrels knew no bounds. 

"Rarely have a people been more excited on a subject admitting 
so little difference of opinion , says Mr, Hood in his New England 
History , as he quotes, in closing, the Rev, Mr, Symmes's remark, 


baa el in rtf 

.now acxnt jxea 

erf bfwoc- a; 

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io0 lo aeaaO .irxebbod'c 

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loti .voK •rj' vtf to si J* 5 bxusJ-a to4\MJ 

; nsooa 

... . . 

elleox© bjx Il3w J&evrse 

.esaeieldT Ijsoi-xotaxrf ax 


that "A great part of the town (3radford) has for near a year been 
in a mere flame about it"!*' 

But with timely insight, and supplementing his Essay, Cotton Mather 
in 1723 published A Pacificatory Letter, so-called. Pungent of logic, 
fair in argument, temperate of spirit, this widely- circulated appeal 
(insistent upon reform however) though candidly explaining that no 
divine command existed favoring either the one form of singing or the 
other — the sole Biblical precept being "to make melody in the heart" — 
clearly set forth none the less that the oldest method was after all 
by note and not by rote . Its conciliatory effect was both immediate 
and pronounced. Clouds of fury vanished, as the salutary light of in- 
telligence revealed to those in opposition the untenableness of their 
contentions. Further Essays and stimulating Discourses quickly followed, 
inciting to active participation an at last assuaged, awakened public. 
So convincing in truth were the efforts of our pioneer reformers, that 
"singing by rule" — only recently denounced by worshipers as both im- 
practicable and positively irreverent — now became the popular, gen- 
erally-adopted custom. And many a person, desiring to put into practice 
what had been preached, forthwith took to heart the pertinent words of 
Mr. Walter, in the Introduction of his above-mentioned book: 

Singing is reducible to the rules of art| and he 
who makes himself master of a few of these rules 
is able at first sight to sing hundreds of new 
tunes, just as a person who has learnt all the 
rules of reading is able to read any new book. 

Profiting by this counsel, and eager to "master a few of these 
rules", those bent on advance now gladly welcomed the inauguration 
of an institution hitherto unknown to them (although previously ad- 
vocated, as will be recalled, by the Rev. Mr. Symmes) namely, — 

■ . 


:xerit io *Q&tt&I<Sj3BQttiv orfi" noi.i'icoqq© ixi aaorft o& b&I&?Ywi erse^x rr 

tfij taiscrfciat neencrq *x»o lo Gtioli© a.It «t©v :U"tn4' ex suxoaJtvaoo i 
o isiqxiiw ju«r xjeafworreo Y-»-rcieo9i ^Jxro 'elm 30x30x1 

:r( noi.titfii-afd ft* lo 


the Singing- School. Singing Societies, too, tending toward the pro- 
motion of music- appreciation, voice culture, and improved taste, 
springing up here and there, elicited warm support. Thus excellent 
opportunity to "sing by rule" was afforded the Colonists as never before, 
while an attractive inducement to benefit by this opportunity was ready 
at hand in the three-part choral music included in Mr. Walter* s book of 
instruction. Due in large degree to the influence of this music, more- 
over, a further step in advance presently took place -- the forming of 
Church Choirs, since by such means only could the different voice-parts, 
theoretically at least, be sustained. And yet, from a practical point 
of view, expectation surpassed at times fulfillment; for not infrequently 
the well-intentioned attempts of these volunteer vocalists proved to be 
anything but helpful to the cause of devotional singing, of religious 
emotional reaction. By way of illustration, it is recorded that the 
Rev. Dr. Bellamy, during service one Sabbath, deemed it necessary to 
admonish his choir, and in the following words: You must try again, for 
it is impossible to preach after such singing!" 

Still, the spirit of progress pervaded the circumambient air; and 
by virtue of the encouragement now given to vocal study and to part- 
singing, a more discriminative, intelligent musical sense resulted, an 
insight into harmonic beauties theretofore unrealized, and an improved 
manner of performance. No longer sufficed, as the choir-system grew 
in favor, the uncouth, deteriorated Psalm- singing that had flourished 
for so many years among Puritan communions, and there arose a demand 
naturally enough for a more varied and larger musical repertoire. As 
a consequence, the reign of The Bay Psalm Book , with its limited number 
of affiliated melodies and its textual short* comings, was doomed. 

Xtas-r a*v x*iajtf-xoqqo oxxtt ^rcf Jxleaacf ot d-nasseoiibxtx avitoxni'*.'* rtxs eli 

-Jucq of btL3 ybisha Lsocr of novia won tvQ9!i%muGQa& arid* 10 *u&iiv ycf 

bevcrrqrrri fin bns jbosiLseinu wtoloi'e'TCtftf" z&ifuA&d oixtoarrarf odrti drfexenx 
waig ck> Ta^a -rxofto ©fW n.a t ooex^ty3 "iagrtoi. oi. .ao^xianoATaq 10 lannarc 
Leriai-rtioH hnri j-urid- s^x^ii/K-dna^ b')tst©XT.>iab t tttruaoiiv ©rit ,*iov/rt ttl 
Jbnfwtib si 9901s Bi&At baz ttwoictumwo tuitltsfl gpoms st^av ycum oa 101 
aA • vixoj*^ t»GR*x Jj50J»Ri8ff *ies'i.oX L'OP ijax*"! / ^ow sn 10I iiv. r?on*5 Yj.XB"t$w\!W 


A maturing recognition of the book's deficiencies, as of its demora- 
lizing influence upon sacred song — despite its several revisions, 
the tinkering by many hands, and even the inclusion of various tunes 
in certain of its seventy editions — had pointed the way for other 
and freer- hearted Psalters (The New Version, so-called, of Tate and 
Brady t for instance, and James Lyon's Urania (1761), the latter con- 
taining the earliest examples of "fuguing music" to be published here, 
and more notably still the Psalms and Hymns of Dr. Isaac Watts), until, 
following a predominance of upwards of a century, the long-venerated 
book was put aside — to be valued thenceforth solely as a relic of 
bygone times. Yet, even so, its gradual dislodgement had given grounds 
for controversy no less virulent than prolonged, for so general had 
been its use, and throughout so extended a period, that many a parish 
considered its abandonment as nothing short of profanation, and it was 
not until after the War of Independence that the tolling of its knell, 
shortly to be followed also by that of the pernicious custom of "lining- 
out", was finally sounded. But with the elimination of impediments 
such as these, due in goodly part to the tireless efforts of the few 
Puritan divines — the reformers of 1720 — the period of transition 
from musical chaos to comparative order drew to a close, the Dark 
Ages of Psalmody had run their course, while in their passing there 
became evident, for those who would but see, the token of a better, 
brighter day. 

cn ©"iOH SMM 

as&olaifc /aw^-yxg ai-x t oe were ,*eY .aomiJ- ««c 

;xixl lo no-uu© aucfcoxxrceq erf* lo ttitt ^tf oalB bwollol ed c& vJthtoxla 

■ ' 

1 of verb i&tnc 9rl&anMxi:aoo oJ 1 aoerfs LaaxL-uu intnl 


Chapter IV . 

As year followed year, threatenings of reconstruction and far- 
reaching change, fast becoming realities at home and abroad, culminated 
during the closing quarter of the eighteenth century in the War of 
American Independence and the overwhelming Revolution in France. 

Louis XV (Bien-aim^! ), conscious that his profligacy and waste 
were sapping the life- strength of his nation, more than once had said 
to his favorite, "After us, the deluge"; end to this Madame de Pompadour, 

who ruled her France as well as her King, had all- too- contentedly 

({ k 
replied, Yes, after us" I » 


Diderot, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, and others of the en- 
cyclopaedists, by their sparkling wit, dart-like satire, searching 
insight, were going far toward fomenting and forming public opinion, 
and to such pass as must render impossible prolonged continuance of 
unjust despotic authority — authority #iich the magnificent though wily 
Richelieu had unremittingly labored to establish — and their writings 
inciting a spirit of freedom in thought and action were indomitably 
paving the vray toward a vast, inevitable metamorphosis. 

Across the Channel, as the third of the Hanoverians in 1760 as- 
cended the English throne, it became apparent at once that the reiterated 


counsel of his Princess-mother — "George, be a King" — had fallen on 
receptive ears* For the youthful sovereign inaaediately evinced a deter- 
mination to establish a royal prerogative, and though stooping for the 
accomplishment of his end to wholesale bribery and corruption he suc- 
ceeded in overthrowing the supremacy of Parliament — a supremacy that 
for close to a century had remained unquestioned. And although he 


refrained from the thought of ruling wiihout a nominal Parliament, 
he none- the--le*s proceeded to dominate his Ministers whom he him- 
self had chosen! — and hence of securing the acquiescence of a titular 
Parliament in his autocratic measures. With the reins of despotism 
thus in his hand, he drove at an alarming pace. 

To rehabilitate her financial resources, England, egged on by her 
head-strong King, forthwith ruthlessly adopted measures oppressively 
affecting the American colonists — none more so than the Stamp Act 
of 1765, imposing its levy in violation of the supreme principle that 
subjects should not be taxed save by their own representatives — but 
the colonists were without representatives in Britain's legislative 

Reasonably enough, rebellion stalked the land. Human feeling, 
highly inflamed, exploded in riots against such tyranny. Such an act 
of injustice was indicative, others had preceded it — more might follow. 

Turbulence characterized the age; events followed one another des- 
tined to determine the fate of nations. Here in America the oratory of 
James Otis and Patrick Henry, the Speeches and Letters of Washington, 
Adams, Franklin and Hamilton, of Jefferson, Madison and Jay, marked the 
literature of the period as political, while that of former years had 
been theological. 

llHWtl^ • » outlined Ur^^rtr^XiA. ,r > *00» DV4UM 

With new responsibilities confronting the colonists, a conscious- 

ww KBgtyuM e principal city, and tOypn# bom in Boston or dit""i< "iJuir 

ness there was of new possibilities as well: the spirit of expansion 
loomed high in politics, literature, science and commerce, ^with the 
forbidding religious intolerance of long duration, giving place to 
more enlightened views. With broadening effect the writings and 
sayings of Benjamin Franklin widened the scope of human interests, 

<jMBi"3 arft nariJ" 03 ©loai anon — - si~Si 

+ cirf+ » fo Fannie *B ati* i0 AO i".J".QJLOX V f 

■ - 

9ri «b 

X© tb«£ 

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hrrs axdO aouisT. 

bna noexb.' , /J t xioa-ialxeT» *o ^eoj'-lnajll baa axiarrOTi 
J- olxrfw ,Ia3xJ\i 

illew ax« ••xxi Ci 


while their author, aided by Pitt — staunch friend of .American rights — 
ardently labored for the repeal of the despicable Stamp Act, accom- 
plishing his end in 1766. Overshadowing by tactful ability in govern- 
mental issues the unsympathetic influence of his vigorous British con- 
temporary, Doctor Johnson, Franklin at the same time inculcated in his 
countrymen, through his Poor Richard 1 s Almanac , both fortitude and thrift. 

Thus life among the colonists more and more assumed outlines clear 
and determinate. Thoughts of independence definitely took shape, infus- 
ing the people with a resolve for self-government. Men holding views 
differing from those entertained by the Puritans now dwelt here, while 
mutation little by little had crept in affecting customs and manners, 
until innovation overspread the land. 

Was it other than natural, then, that the plea of the Rev. Mr. 
Symmes and his associates for musical reform should have evoked an en- 
thusiastic, albeit at first circumscribed, support? For music is no less 
a personal expression of man's inmost feelings, aims and yearnings, than 
an index historically of his activities. The plain, demoralized tunes 
supplementing the deo- centric Psalms had had their day; while hearts now 
pulsating with patriotism, demanded a different type of music with which 
to express their emotions. 

The signs of progress so apparent in the New England colonies and 
elsewhere, as outlined in our earlier Chapter, soon became focalized in 
New England's principal city, and to one born in Boston credit is due 
for having displaced the long- since distorted tunes of psalmody by catchy 
and lively airs, many of which hinted, at least, musical advance and 

William Billings (1746-1800), was the man, one of America's very 

itA^ii xaoitemh to bcexii riottuxtfa — fttt ^ hnbia ,-rorfi-u* ilsiit alcrfw 

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— £16 XL8 boXoV© 8YJ3f: bXUOda IKO t6*l A85XQJ.TS "r!i B9JB-L3C9BS air - t 

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•xx©rii" bar! barf amies" oii^fl©o-o«b erft gtxx;fr 

>o ftooe .is; 


ta .bedrtxd riox 

or t aixo v.IoviX 


early composers. Of limited education but original tendencies, Billings 

published, in 1770, hrs^-iret-^ll-ection, entitled: 

"The New England Psalm Singer, or 
American Chorister, Containing a number 
of Psalm Tunes, Anthems and Canons, in 
four and five parts r . M 

With a musical conception characterized by sprightly rhythm and fluent 
melody, Billings wrote in the glee and in the "fuguing" (or imitative 
counterpoint) style, the latter so much then the vogue in England, whence 
the importation of "fuguing" anthems and ballads had deeply impressed 
him; and although his enthusiastic vivacity, spontaneous and unchecked 
by technical training as it was, led him to indulge in "consecutive 
fifths", "omission of the third" and other harmonic sins, still his music, 
contrasting so sharply with that of the day, made instantaneous appeal. 
Quantity, too, he offered, as well as variety, in two hundred melodies 
and more, thus supplying a demand which had constantly increased since 
the beginning, in 1720, of the psalmodv-reform movement. Prior to the 
day of Billings, tunes had been "set"^ as we have seen, or "struck up 'V' 
without so much as even a tuning fork for guidance; and now, that cert- 
ainty as to pitch might be assured in "striking up the tune", Billings 
introduced the pitch-pipe. A boon to singers it must have been — and, 
we venture to assume, to listeners as well! Billings was the first, also, 
to employ the bass-viol in conjunction with the choir, thus assailing 
John Calvin's ban upon musical instruments within the church. 

But yet, although the tunes of The New England Psalm Singer proffered 
the spice of novelty and differed decidedly from those of the earlier 
psalmody (reduced by this time to so jejune, crass a condition) they 
lacked for most part the quality of reverential, spiritual feeling 
characteristic of the music they displaced. In fact, the very title of 

8JJS0T &tit fle .t rioiitn iB&fsI. srft <©I\ r Ta \TnxoqT9jfiuoci 
Jb had «b£ll«f briB arasuttos "sniusift" 1o nox*r:t-xoqmi ertt 

hx o^Ix/bfli o* rniri be! <»«w *x a« gclidst* Isoinriost T£d 

oieum airi IQJe ,aoxe oxnoarxAfi teiiT 



rt,tr-7 ^Icp-arie oa 

t.«.tf .a: 

a&axIXiH I How as aiec 


one of Bill^ags^ books, The Psalm Singers ' Amusement (1781), is sig- 

nificant, while in the preface to another, the author states: 

It is well known there is more variety in one 
Piece of fuguing than in twenty pieces of plain 
song. ?/hile each part is straining for mastery, 
and sweetly contending the victory, the audience 
are most luxuriously entertained, and exceedingly 
delighted; in the meantime their minds are sur- 
prisingly agitated, and extremely fluctuated, 
sometimes declaring favor of one part, and some- 
times another. Now the solemn bass demands their 
attention; now the manly tenor, now the lofty counter, 
now the volatile treble, — now here, now there, now 
here again. enchanting! ecstatic! Rush on, 
ye soul of harmony. 

Eccentric himself, so to a considerable extent was his music. A 
tanner by trade, deformed of body, blind of one eye and of thunderous 
voice, Billings presented a compound of curiously combined tendencies 
ranging from the commonplace and ludicrous to the quasi-religious and 
the patriotic, while underneath all there lay a natural talent for 
rhyming and song. Having learned to read musical notation, Biilings 
imitated in form such tunes as most appealed to his fancy, chalking down 
his melodies on sides of leather or upon the walls of his tannery. He 
frequently sang in church- service — gaining encouragement in this activity 
from Samuel Adams, Governor of the Massachusetts Colony at the time, who, 
himself fond of music, often appeared side by side with the tanner-musician 
in church-choir and public concert. It is said that this latter form of 
musical entertainment originated with Billings, insofar at least as New 
England is concerned. 

Billings's music, because of its vigorous rhythm, original melodies 
and exaggerated style, jumped to immediate popularity with singing-schools 
and public; book followed book, with always a beguiling Preface. 

£or history with the colonies was in the making. Feeling against 



>X erf* won ,*20Xie.r ^. 
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IM XJ3 A J-'o 


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British tyranny, long bitter, could no longer be restrained; people 
gave vent to their welling indignation in various directions, exhibiting 
in~-&ll their hatred for whatsoever was English — and thus they came to 
ignore even the very psalm-tunes which they had theretofore cherished. 

Here arose an opening quickly accepted by the clever tanner; for 
whatever may have been his merits as a reformer, Billings certainly was 
an opportunist. Deftly paraphrasing the Psalms, he utilized them as 
political provocatives; and fired with patriotism he wrote for his favo- 
rite composition, Che ster, the stanzas: 

Let tyrants shake their iron rod, 

And slavery clank her galling chains, 
We'll fear them not, we'll trust in God; 

New England* s God forever reigns. 

The foe comes on with haughty stride, 

Our troops advance with martial noise; 
Their veterans flee before our arms, 

And generals yield to beardless boys. 

In the excitement aroused by the War for Independence both the en- 
thusiasm and patriotism of the man constantly burst forth in verse and 
tune. Camps of soldiers throughout New England rang v.ith his melodies; 
in the family and in the choir his stirring lines found welcome; his 
tune Chester was frequently heard from every fife in the New England 
ranks; and though possessed as his compositions certainly were of a mer- 
curial irresistible spontaneity, equally crude they were in harmonic 
treatment, counterpoint and abiding qualities generally. But matching 
the temper and understanding of an eager public they aided in the es- 
tablishment of a change, at least, from the wearisome musical dullness 
of former days. And in- so- far- forth as this was so Billings served 
well a worthy cause; had he been educated as man and musician, likely 
enough he would have left to posterity a musical legacy alike worthwhile 
and enduring. But neither he nor his disciples (though among the latter 

oa bt 


than noni. fJ 

rtTBR 11 oi 

» .- eflns + i^y^Io e»rt4" yd beJq r 30o*$ yJMoxjjp jj/ixneqc nu eaoiB e*reH 

exii* vd beauct- 

K ari* nl axil yieva ami tn^ex* yrti? 

vXnx.fiJ*ieo anox^lsoofiioo axri aj3 lNM|tK 
x erx&w ycjtidr ebino vllflupfc tVi"xaiti<vft< 

«1 a." 


iiabnu br-3 ieqa»* eat 

• r.f. 

It) 3»Iqio8ib airf 1 


some there were who, in certain instances, contributed "exceptions that 
proved the rule", e. g., Daniel Read (1757-1836), still remembered by 
his Lisbon and Windham ; Timothy Swan (1758-1842), whose China , despite 
its having been declared"a queer medley of melody" and "one of the most 
unscientific tunes ever published", continued its hold in public estima- 
tion through many years; Oliver Holden (1765-1844), whose virile tune 
Coronation * first appearing in 1793, is today universally sung, being 
included in hymnals of all denominations and inseparably associated with 
the Rev. Edward Perronet's hymn, "All hail the power of Jesus* name, 
Let angels prostrate fall,") went further in the main than to provoke a 

originality and activity; they opened the way to broader possibilities, 
but they tk^roby emphasized as well the deplorable lack of a nice dis- 

crimination regarding music for the church. And- particularly killings, 

in his unbridled zeal, seemed to reflect the enthusiasm of emphatic 
Jonathan Edwards who, in preaching a sermon on the sin of failure to sing 
in meeting, exhorted each and every member of his congregation to join 
in song, whether one could sing or notl 

Thus-BiiliiigSf who excelled in daring, fell short in lasting achieve- 
ment; his contribution, finding ready approbation, yet in good part 
deficient, proved of but little real value save that of incitation to 
better conditions. 

The leader who should direct by virtue of validity and breadth of 
understanding, whose penetrating insight should fashion basic principles 
with steady hand and clear head, thus laying a permanent foundation, was 
yet to «rise. Like the words of Earnest in Hawthorne's exquisite story, 
"The Great Stone Facej', his woHs should have "power because they accorded 

better music. True, they encouraged 

• © ."elm; otif be v etc 

o eno" btuB "^bolem ^elbent leaop a"be-i.sIoeb 
ilr eeorfw ,(£-£61-59 VI) nebloH t9rtl0 ?8'i.<se\: \p 

Mi teni 

t omfiC 'auaeL 10 to^roq arfJ" Xi.ori 

aeJc tilxdlseoq aebsotrf oi - erf J" bei 
-nil; aoln js So ia^I aldriolqefc e»x\J" , 

iq slegns toJ 

"SO I 9* 

lo aeAtsuritn© etix tot 
L io nx8 etffr no nocru* 


rf + r,; 

ij>s boxbZtotiu flirt m 
>rfw BbtmihTL uaAfsnol 






with his thoughts"?" and his thoughts "reality and depth, because they 
harmonized with the life he had always lived'',' 1 -- a life of wide and 
jana-jw sympathies and devout religious purpose. And indeed, when such a 
leader should come, and should have "finished what he had to say" he, 
like Earnest, in true simplicity, "would walk slowly homeward still hop- 


ing that some wiser and better man than himself would by and by appear . 3 5 

^ ..• ., ■ • . r ■ t 'etc ortt cid 

..... ;S»s.._ »r ^* f r. hnrf rtf* s*Hl exU" flfti fiasiaompji 

hart 9d *Mikr borlaiail" evxri bluorfe brts ,«aoo bliK)^ letoel 
. . , jr * - ■ *4-F*iinxaiK awii ni: .J-aexrxsS aii.I 


Chapter V. 

Such was the change in musical feeling and endeavor — under the 
bewitching influence of William Billings and his henchmen — that 
English ballads, marches, and dance tunes now came to be utilized in 
adaptation to sacred texts. Whether wantonly, or not, these sedulous 
composers appear to have believed that so long as a tune claimed sacred 
words it was sacred music! Church choirs and singing- schools, lacking 
discrimination, readily accepted every proffer and eagerly called for 
more. Havoc was the inevitable outcome, with bathos and indignity all 
too prevalent. 

But so pernicious was the injurious effect of this music on true 
religious feeling, that several of the more discerning among the 
colonial ministers and professors rose up in opposition against it. As 
a result, a definitely unfavorable reaction against Billings and his 
kind — whose publications flooded the market — unmistakably asserted 
itself. To such extent was this so, in fact, that early in the nine- 
teenth century Psalm-tune books began to appear in which their compilers 
included no original American tunes whatsoever; and although a step so 
drastic may have tended to discourage the initiative of native composers, 
it n«vertheie43e-«erve4 -to hush the meretricious "fuguing" music — so 
charged as this was with baneful influence. 

As for instrumental music — proscribed by Calvin at Geneva, and 
thus far altogether taboo in New England churches — there was issued 
in London, as late as 1786, a Tractate on Church Music , "being an 
extract from the Reverend and learned Mr. Pierce's Vindication of the 
Dis centers , "and in which musical instruments were unsparingly scathed. 

OtU B.JW '„OV\bH .OK 


iBBoiotQ butt ot: 

•$•1 8 


Its author maintained that while "Plain singing is capable of both 
raising and improving sentiments of rational piety and devotion, and is 
recommended in the New Testament the "addition of instrumental music 
should seem more calculated to divert and dissipate the pious affections 
of a reasonable service, than to fix upon their proper objects." 

But fortunately not all were blind as to the chaotic conditions, 
as-4e- the lack of musical understanding then so common. 

In 1807 John Hubbard, professor of mathematics and natural philo- 
sophy in Dartmouth College, musically inclined by nature and one of the 
founders of the Handel (Choral) Society of Dartmouth, read a timely 
Essay before the Middlesex Musical Society, with music as his subject. 
He here boldly stated divers points calculated to open the eyes and 
minds of his hearers. This Essay, furthermore, was shortly followed 
by one from Francis Brown, also of Dartmouth College, who, addressing 
the Handel Society, attacked the then current type of church music, 
analysing its defects by asserting that "the greater part of those in 
our country who have undertaken to write music have been ignorant of 
its nature. Their pieces have little variety and little meaning . . . . 
As they are written without any meaning, they are performed without any 
expression .... Cur best musicians, instead of being awakened to 
exertion by call for splendid talents, have been discouraged by the in- 
creasing prevalence of a corrupt taste," 

The fact of the matter is there existed no properly grounded 
musical standard, — no intelligent musical appreciation among the 
people at large. So that even despite the gradual introduction of 
musical instruments, e« g. the harpsichord, bass-viol, flute, and 

ft *~r\r r *i r> fiTrfivi^a ex s/ti*in.xc niusX*!" o£x£tw tbii* b^rfx'^TrtxsfJi "xofixiifl ayx 
bna t fl©x*oreb baa x***<l I*noi*m lo etnoaiJnee jjiuvoiqar tow 8"faifa 

ito$li* bwoxc artt 9fo>qxB82b bit* J-iovib ot bei\sXiJoXJ80 sioin nwea bXuorie 
"•etodt * *x«qoiq ixstU" noqu xil oJ* xuartf fMiWM altfanoaBei * lo 
. ■ . , _ _ _ _ . i.f^ mf i^. «,{■(. n + bo hwcTd XXb i"Ort vJo^sftu^""iol ^uG 

.nocffioo oa oatM- ^aihtiBHi^btiu Xroxaun lo iosX erf* 0* «* 
•oXxiiq XartuJ'an boe aoti'asmtij'xat lo -roaaelcTq itrtsddif.i nnou vOoI nl 
* io 9flo bit* eiud-jsa benxXoni x-f^DJiui t »3©XXoO riJ-uofltHaC ai \-rfqoe 
vXoaufcJ" B bBCT t rfJ" u ocd~i.-jQ lo x* 8 -' 00 ^ (JDaicrfCO XebnaH srfi" lo ?*retnx;ol 
toei<Jus alri aa oraum fttxw ,-^01308 LboxpuU xeaeXbbiii ert> eioleo' x^eS 
h » H-f mA n h<*ta f unl^3 a-frrioo' aTevib bei\EJ"3 vXbXoo' oiori ©H 
b^woXXol {Xi-torie aaar ^"ioarxerfchri/l ^J 8883 a-MT .eiataerf aid lo sbttiia 
soxaaeibbs .orhr tOaeXXoO r'tuoarHaG lo oaXa t oro*tS a-toae** 1 ? noil eno yti 
t ox3iia rioiurio lo sqY^" iwrxuo neiiJ - erfcr beaoacrj'B t ^T«xcoc lebaar! qxit 


> srued lo bAeJ*anX ,8ii£!XoX8«m iaotf iaO . . • • aoxn89iqx$- 

tmart avari a+rr^r*.* firh^fe r aa 10*^ XXfiO TCf "0X^18X9 

"♦etas* Jqxmoo a lo oonoXBveiq gnxsee^ 

no tJ-pxfiQioan Leo ia urn d'nesxlle^'ijx on — «bTtabriEJ"a X^oxai-w 
50*ii"ttt X^tbeng arii" eJxqeeb aavo tajtt o2 .eyraX 3"B e^qo^ 



later the pipe organ; and notwithstanding the efforts of the more en- 
lightened singing- schools and choral societies, the fitful visits of 
English and French opera companies, the sporadic orchestral concerts and 
other attempts at musical expression, the fact still remained that musi- 
cal activity floundered about, like a ship with no rudder, in sorry, 
parlous fashion. 

Public understanding of matters musical was unformed — and unin- 
formed; immature, inconsequential tunes temporarily flourished, since 
maturity of discernment was wanting. 

This was veritably a land of beginnings; no mythical heroes, no 
legendary traditions were ours — save those of uncivilized red men 
happily rescued by writers of the English language; our American fore- 
fathers, driven hither from England in their intensity for freedom of 
thought, were without American ancestry. This country, unlike others, 
possessed no folk-songs — songs characteristic of the people — while 
such as later appeared in isolated sections could scarcely affect the 
country as a whole, throughout its vast reaches of territory, and lack- 
ing as it was in that homogeneity of race, customs and language which 
folk-songs typify and whence they spring. Our people have not sung 

1. The first pipe organ introduced into New England, an importation from 
the mother country, was left as a legacy by Thomas Brattle, in 1713, to 
the Brattle Street Church, Boston. But the Church, though declaring 
high respect for the memory of "our devoted friend and benefactor", 
voted, "That they^did not think it proper to use the same in the pub- 
lic worship of God" . 3 ' (See A History of the Church in Brattle Street , 
Boston , By its Pastor, Samuel Kirkland Lothrop, p. 62. Pub. by 
Crosby and H. P. Nichols, Boston, 1851). As a result, the instrument 
became the property of King's Chapel, and there it remained for two 
score years. In 1758 it was sold to Saint Paul's Church, Newburyport, 
Mass., where it continued its vork of usefulness for a period of 
eighty years. Finally, it was purchased by the parish at Portsmouth, 
New Hampshire, of Saint John's Chapel, where it is, we understand, 
still in use. 


■vrroa nx .lebbn oc rt 

_c fx/'czotTl iol y^iartechti ixeiiJ" ai. bassist?. 
slirfc — elqoeq ' i 


1 1. a - r .,'fp> 

ZL3 t b/i 

£> ire 


their own endemical tunes for ages, thereby forming a natural basis for 
a national musical development. The early music of this country was 
foreign to it — an importation from other lands; those who could sing 
did sing, but no native, irresistible urge stirred all to a common musi- 
cal outpouring; the people in general found no emotional outlet in a 
typical, spontaneous musical utterance. 

Such then was the incongruous state of musical affairs in the early 
nineteenth century; there was little or no "team-work' 1 , as the college 
athlete would express it, no formulated, systematized plan of procedure, 
no enlightened, authoritative leadership* Of those who cared for music 
each went his own way, listening to this, singing that, listlessly, 
unintelligently, and how, pray, could it have been otherwise? For what 
the youth has never learned, saith the proverb, the adult can never 
master; and the youth of this country lacked musical guidance, no less 
than a native musical heritage. 

And yet, in whatever direction criticism may be made of the pioneers, 
it cannot justly be levelled at them for neglect in founding schools 
and colleges, even as they felled the forests and transformed the wastes. 
Obsessed though they were with the thoughts which led them hither, and 
blocked by the conditions facing them on their arrival, they gave heed 
to the higher welfare of those who should succeed them. In his History 
of the United States , John Fiske asserts that "the American system of 
public schools, begun by the first generation of settlers in New 
Netherland (1633) and New England, has been extended, in varying degrees 
of completeness, all over the United States. Its excellent influence 
upon public morals and orderliness has often been remarked." 

ht of 


Isienos ni ©Iqoeq erit tsniu»oq*uo lao 

BSeXXos orit as ,"iio»i»!«r on to ol&til Bsm s-tar!* fT tu*naa ritrtoad-ecirt 

ye ,ba 

illne on 

(X on t £»oci5biiJ3 XaoJtsusi bSAoal y^iTttisc 

>AJ8 ^IJTtBSxiiettticu 
^ijoy erii" bne jneJa sen 

t 1c eb«J exl v;j3« fiBioiJ'ino nocj-oaixb ievat»rtr ni «teY. bcA 

b0fl^o'i8Rs^i• bra aJostox erf* be Hal voii* ac neve ,BesaIIoo box 
' rttm ******** «<i.f K*h» m«w ver.* risuorii- f.oecaadO 

biua .•jerftlrt" mod* bal rioxrfw a J 


erfJ" oc 

:anA nrf*" tart afreeec tffcftl nrfoT, t£££K$ JteJinLl 2££ M 
f ^SirftiTta need aari bw-I^id weW bftr (fiSdl) bnal'xeilJ'eM 


Harvard College was founded in 1636; William and Mary in 1692; 
Yale in 1701; and within the next six years the number was increased 
to seven. 

But with all this solicitude for the development of man's mind 
and being, no telling thought was brought to bear upon the educational 
value of music as a subject of study. None appears to have heeded 
Lord Bacon's indisputable maxim: "to disincorporate any particular 
science from general knowledge, is one great impediment to its advance- 
ment." We do not forget that the Rev. Mr. Symmes in 1720 had said — 
in his Essay on The Reasonableness of Regular Singing : or Singing by 
Note — "It (Psalmody) was studied, known and approved of in our College, 
for many years after its first founding." 

But Psalmody is one phase only of music; its place in Harvard Col- 
lege elicited encouragement from religious motives. The curricula of 
college and common school were barren so far as music in a scientific 
or artistic sense was concerned — music, of which the apostle of a later 

age was to declare: The wisest have agreed in thinking (it) the first 


element of education. 

But with time this would change; recognition of a simple truth, 
though one of signal importance, would yet come to pass, — the truth 
that a love and an appreciation of fine , lasting music implanted in the 
child would lead to the same in the adult ~ to a music-understanding, 
a music-making, and, sooner or later, a music- creating people. 

And the first in this country to convincingly demonstrate the prac- 
ticability of this truth was Lowell Mason. 

The Queen of the Air, John Ruskin, 1869. 

t± aav tedtaistt ectt bix^x, xie txan erfi nlsl&Lw baa jIOTX at »IaY 

««a lo tnanqoXavab ot;t *rot ebudioiloa, airi* XX* d&tv tu9 hi ! 
M» Af<> noon tijacf oi* ftL&uoifi ssw i*dsjjOii^ RffiXXaih on fjtnistf btia 
I OYsri oi" BiBQcqA onoH .^bxKi*e lo J"oe{,cfjja B 810 aiawH "io eul3V 
k#Ttt rna efra-ioqioociaib 00" 1 mix aw olcf^uqaibril a'nocaR in oJ 
hi oJ" tt&OLtbtjqtzi. 9K0 ai f e?ji<~Irofn( I^isnag xnoil aonaioe 

sri GSYX fti eatsnva «t t ( «V95T o.'it tsdt Jvgiol J*oit ob atf ".tazei 

ni to btvoiqqa bn# issocii ^beibis&e 3«r (vbcic/eaH ) .+T M — e»+oH 

"•3£iibflwol Jaiil s^i Te^l.s b'£««y vinai *io^ 

all ni ao£lq si-x joianra lo x^o eswiq ano ei yboinXael ±t£ 
njjo eriT .aevijom ajyox^iloi raatl vVBaciagjrxuoC'fte betioiX© ©gal 
oa a ui oiowci ax* * oa aeiiad aiew Xooriaa nocnroo brte egeXXos 
I^aoqa arfi" rfoiifc? lo t cieutn — bor-raonof earr eanoe oi^aii-ija to 
(i'i'S tifilr'nlrf^ itl btssfaB avori d'ati^isF ariT sai-aXoab o& aiw 03a 

• noi^oube It J"Kaci8Xe 


Chapter VI . 

Until nearly of age Lowell Mason lived with his parents at Med- 
field, the eldest of five children, four sons and one daughter. In- 
fluences of heredity doubtless played their part in forming his charac- 
ter as in determining his career; but so too did those of environment — 
and all in a spot of rural charm, of natural, vjholesome simplicity. 

Colonel Johnson Mason, Lowell's father, unkempt of hair but re- 
solute of jaw, chose as a young man the vocation of manufacturer-merchant, 
and as such long remained one of the town's representative leaders; but 
he nevertheless fostered to some extent a musical tendency apparently 
his by inheritances for his father before him, Barachias, as we have seen, 
had exhibited a similar aptitude. Indeed, the latter achieved a certain 
prominence (as did his grandson later on to a still greater degree) as 
a teacher of singing-schools, a fact recalling the once-familiar lines: 

To teach his grandson draughts, then, 

His leisure he'd employ, 
Until at last the old man 

Was beaten by the boy! 

The family being fairly well to do, young Mason was more or less 
free to follow his native bent, #iich early and pronouncedly asserted 
itself as an absorbing interest in music. But while more or less free 
he was looked upon with misgiving by his father, the practical merchant, 
as well as by others; for in those stern, pragmatic days of what earthly 
use could be such a gift as his I A farmer, a merchant, minister or 
builder, these were important; but a musician, perish the thought! 

Referring to this early period, Lowell Mason in after years 
recounted that he was, in the opinion of the community, "a wayward, un- 
promising boy, although indulging no vices. He never used intoxicating 





liquors or uttered a profane oath. He gave little promise, save for 

music, for -which he early manifested a strong inclination. He spent 

twenty years of his life doing nothing but playing upon all manner of 


musical instruments that came within his reach." 

But whatever the "misgiving" may have amounted to the boy's parents 
did not themselves forego the joys of participating in the musical 
activities of the community. For during a period of above thirty years 
they sang as members of the parish choir; and Colonel Mason when over 
seventy (although by that time, 1840, it is true the son had demonstra- 
ted that music possessed a practical and an educational value as well 
as one of fascination and beauty) led the basses in a chorus of towns- 
people on the occasion of a Fourth- of- July celebration. 

The late Joseph A. Allen (1819-1904), a descendant of one of the 
original thirteen settlers of Medfield, told the present writer in 
1903 that when seventeen years of age, upon being asked to conduct 
the ordination music at the installation services of a newly appointed 
minister of the First Parish, certain of the more conservative members 
objected on the ground of his youthfulness and that he sought the advice 
of Johnson Mason. The latter quickly said to him, "Joseph, you do it 
and I'll help you all I can". True to his word, at the appointed hour, 

1. See The Educational Work of Lowell Mason (1885), by Theodore Frelin- 
huysen Seward (1835-1902). Pupil, friend, collgbore'tor of Lowell Mason, 
Seward, who was self-educated save for courses in the Mason-Root Norms 1 
Institute, was one-time Editor of The Musical Pioneer , the New York 
Musical Gazette, and other periodicals. He published many song-books for 
schools and became music -supervisor at Orange, N. J. In 1872 he issued, 
with Chester G. Allen^, e book of church music, Coronation , the last book 
to which Lowell Mason made musical contribution. (Biglow ft Main, New 
York and Chicago, 1872). 


a Jy'O-cJ'OJrsq a baaeeaooq oieun tsiW" 


o T IX 

IX* I /.ns 


the old gentleman took his place in the choir-loft and with his bass- 
viol, on which he was accustomed to play, led the singing, under the 
baton of the juvenile conductor, A kindly man Colonel Mason surely 
was; trustful, affable, yet discerning withal. He possessed, too, an 
inventive talent originating useful mechanical devices for his straw- 
goods business as well as an appliance for the comfort of his bed-ridden 


wife, many years an invalid. With well-balanced head and generous 
heart, he exerted an influence upon the members of his family that bound 
them to him in affection and respect, as likewise his neighbors and 
fellow townspeople generally. 

Of his character and religious sentiments the Rev. Andrew Bigelow,D.D. , 
pastor of the Medf ield Second Congregational Church, in a sermon deli- 
vered at Johnson Mason's funeral, November 16, 1856, spoke as follows: 

"Though possessed of far more than ordinary 
mental power, he was a man of retiring modesty. 
Naturally diffident, and with a keen sense of 
propriety, he was not the man to obtrude him- 
self upon the notice of others; and therefore 
his services, so far as they were rendered to 
society, were rather sought for, than rudely 
urged upon its acceptance. 

He was a man of great integrity of character, 
prudent, patient and honest. He rendered to 
every man what he regarded as justly due. Rash- 
ness, and inconsiderate action, seem not to have 
belonged to his nature. In all his intercourse 
with others, he was governed by the law of kind- 
ness: and when differing from them in sentiment 
or action, he cast the mantle of charity over 
what he regarded their errors or their faults. 
He w°s a devoted Christian. If as such he was 
less active than some others, it was rather the 

_< \ i 

1. He was also clever at sloyds; there still exists a diminutive 
trunk made by his hands in 1846; well fashioned and neatly 
finished, it is perfectly firm today. 

fctff A • W 


fault of his nature than his piety. He had 45 

neither the confidence, nor early training 

which prepares men to speak eloquently in 

popular assemblies. His piet rather found 

expression in his example and his life, than 

in earnest exhortations to sinners and in 

strong appeals to Christians, urging them to 

prayer and Christian fidelity. 

He spoke most affectionately, in life's latest 
hours, of his departed wife, and of the happy 
influence which she exerted in the formation 
of his religious sentiments and Christian char- 
acter; and though ascribing his conversion to the 
influence of another, when he was past the meridian 
of life, yet her prayers and tears and deep solici- 
tude, on his behalf, found a place in his affection- 
ate and grateful remembrances of her. 

He loved the church, and spoke with deep emotion of 
his earnest desire for its prosperity." 

Dr. Bigel^o, in these expressions of tribute to the memory of his 
parishioner and friend, gives a just portrayal of Johnson Mason* the man: 
and from this portrayal it is evident, I believe, that certain character- 
istics definite and pronounced in Lowell Mason were largely the result of 
a paternal influence, through inheritance and association alike — prudence, 
and mental force, for instance, honesty, religious sincerity and quiet 
tolerance regarding the views and deeds of others. 

But equally important was the influence of the boy's mother; and from 
her it was, more particularly, that the son acquired through both example 
and counsel a deep religious temper which grew to be so controlling a moti- 
vation of his life and labours. When the lad was eight years old his mother 
became a member of the Congregational (Trinitarian) Church, of which the 
Rev. Thomas Prentiss, D. D. (1747-1814), who had officiated at her marriage 
with Johnson Mason, was pastor, and who on May 4 of the year 1800 administ- 
ered the rite of baptism upon young Lowell, his sister Lucretia (1793-18-), 


and his twin brothers, Johnson, junior (1736-1882) and Arnold (1736-1817). 

1, Timothy Battle Mason (1801-1861), the fifth child of the family, was not 
born until the year 1801. 




Although Johnson Mason, the father, deferred joining the church until 
"past the meridian of life" he, together with his wife and little Lowell, 
regularly attended religious services at this church. 

The church edifice, erected in 1783 on the site of the original 
Meeting-house which was built in 1656, stood, as it now stands, in the 
village green. Not far distant, on North Street, which runs past the 
green on its eastern side, was the Mason homestead. The homestead comprised 
some five acres of land, a barn, sheds, and a plain white house of two 
storeys. The house was Eoomy, comfortable and unpretentious and it possessed 
an air of dignity, strength and tranquility — bespeaking character, as it 
were, in terms of architecture. Simplicity marked the place as it did the 
family that dwelt there — a family whose seniors were actuated in their 
daily routine by an earnest effort to live in accordance with Christian 
principles. Authority for these principles was found in the Scriptures them- 
selves rather than in the church's elaborate statement of dogma, based as 
this still was on a rigid, yet already waning, Calvinism; and if the father 
protested now and again against a theology embodying such tenets as total 
depravity, eternal damnation, and the like, such declaration on his part 
frequently called forth a gentle though definite reproof form his wife who, 
although of similar mind, believed it wise, with an eye to the welfare of 
the children, to altogether abstain from religious controversy and discus- 
sion, to accept what they could and make the best of the rest. But even so, 
Johnson filason's conscientiousness rendered it impossible for him to seek 
Church membership at the time. 

Thus an example of self-reliance based upon integrity of con- 
viction, early impression upon the child, Lowell, the lesson of 
which, judging from subsequent events, he never ceased to retain. 


Lowell Mason's affection for his father and mother was singularly beautiful, 

expressive of his nature's tenderness and strength alike. Never through his most 


active years did he fail, so long as they lived, to contrive for their comfort or 
to return to them as he might; and when they were gone from him forever, he un- 
ceasingly venerated their memory, as h*e had cherished their presence in life. In a 
letter written by him, when nearly seventy years old, to his eldest and first 
grandson, then a lad of eleven, ere these words: 

I cannot be too grateful to my Barents, and 
especially to my Mother for the religious instruction 
she gave me when I w s a child. I suppose if my Mother 
had not tried to instruct me in religious things I should 
never have known the comparative peace I now enjoy, or 
looked forward as I can now, with a good hope of blessed- 
ness to come. 

Although his mind even in earliest years was preoccupied by an absorbing pas- 
sion, young Lowell stood ready and alert to perform such mission for his parents 
as might be entrusted to him. This is evident from a letter written by the Rev. Dr. 
Prentiss, to the humane Society, telling of the youth's narrow escape from drowning: 

October £0, 1806. 

I wish to communicate to the trustees of our 
Humane Society a statement of a successful exertion in saving the 
life of a lad who had nearly perished in the watery element. I 
am satisfied the activity and enterprise of the agents will be 
thought deserving of your attention. 

Lowell Mason, a son of my nearest neighbor, of about 
sixteen, went into Charles River to bathe, and unexpectedly to 
himself, was carried by the current where the water was eight or 
nine feet in depth. Having sunk and arisen twice, calling for 
help in the best manner his situation admitted, he went down the 
third time. Two lads younger than himself being present, namely, 
Moses ?'ight 

1. For some time prior to the division of the double menage (see page 4), John- 
son I'ason and his wife, being quite alone since their children were married 
and dispersed, had contemplated removing to a smaller dwelling. r " r here to go, 
and when, had been questions not easy for them to decide. Happily enough, 
however, a suggestion from Lowell, then living in Boston, solved their prob- 
lems, — 8nd in good time they removed to a nearby house which he built in 
the southern portion of their ancestral land, and presented to them. This 
house, then known as "The Cottage!" still stands and, having been remodeled, 
is Number 115 North Street. L 


and Joseph Lovell, the former, with all his 
clothing upon him, plunged into the water, 
and brought his friend from the water; while 
the other very judiciously floated a rail on 
the surface, and aided them both to the land. 

Young Mason assures me that, from the time 
of his calling for help, he recollects nothing 
until he found himself supported at the shore 
by the hand of his friend. The lads testify 
that he appeared insensible, and was unable to 
support himself for some time; that he emitted a 
considerable quantity of water, and gradually 
regained his recollection and the use of his 
limbs in such a measure as to ride home about 
one and one-half miles in a wagon, with which he 
had been out on business for his parents. This 
is the testimony of the lads, which is all the 
nature of the case admits; and I beg leave to 
add their character leaves no room for doubt 
of its correctness. 

Interesting it is to note, as the letter implies, that the boy 
had gone into the river to bathe (near Brastow* s Bridge), after — not 
before — despatching the business of his parents, evidence of his early 
sense of the precept "Work before play 

But boys will be boys, and it is not to be wondered at that Lowell's 
father, having left his son in charge of the straw-goods store, occas- 
ionally found on returning there that the door was locked and that the 
lad, with the key in his pocket, had departed with some too-alluring 
companion, or gone forth in quest of the beauties of nature, in which 
the surrounding country abounded and of which from his earliest to his 
latest years he was dearly fond» 

Naturally enough Noon Hill — the highest elevation to the south- 
ward of the town's centre — might entice any boy, fond of wild flowers 

1. See p. 206 of History of Medfield, by William S. Tilden. (George 
H. Ellis, Publisher, Boston, 1887). 

te^oqqJB erf 


•heel vl'iadfe w: aiflav 
►aol tXod v** eoiJ-flP ^*3- B — 8,fwc; 


and singing birds, to quit the humdrum of a straw-goods store and seek 
the joys of its inviting slopes. And "who knows but what some such 
excursion, truant though he was, led him not many years later (1830) to 
compose the music for the following simple, charming song — the first 
song to be publicly sung by American children who had received musical 
instruction in a common school I 

Flowers, wildvrood flowers, in a shelter' d dell they grew — 

I hurried along, and I chanced to spy, 

This small star flower, with its silvery eye; 

Then this blue daisy peeped up its head, 

Sweetly this purple orchis spread* 
I gather* d them all for you, 
All these wild-wood flov/ers, sweet wildwood flowers. 

Flowers, lovely flowers, in a garden we may see, 

The rose is there with her ruby lip — 

Pinks that the honey bee loves to sip — 

Tulips, gay as a butterfly's wing; 

Marigolds, rich as the crown of a king; 
But none so fair to me, 
As these wildwood flowers, sweet wildwood flowers- 

Naturally enough, too, he now and again tramped Rocky Woods — the 

wild, extensive tract of timber-land lying betwixt Medfield and Dover — 

exulting in the rough exercise and invigorating air, and reaching at 

length, despite fallen tree, stump and tangle, his objective point -- 

Cedar Hill, from the summit of which might be discerned among its Pisgah- 

views the distant harbor and city of Boston; the city where later he 

was to live, and to lay the foundations of a broader, happier education. 

Or, with his clarinet (favorite at the time of the various instruments 

he knew) to Dingle Dell he was wont 

" - - - to steal awhile away 
from every cumbering care/' * 

1. The source of these lines is the well-known hymn by Mrs. Phoebe 

Hinsdale Brown (1783-1861). Written in 1818, the hymn in after years 
came to be closely associated with Mason's hymn-tune, Blake (1832)^-^ 


— qi. 

ft booirfcXiw 

brus vort sri .oo«r .agrone ^- t J ?rifj:rjan 

Y haa aButfe ♦eei* neXI-oi s»tlqaeb t rCj"§n9X 

♦ evlX o* 


and there to extemporize, in a retired bosky nook, to his heart's con- 
tent, heeding Turtle Brook the while as it frolicked on nearby singing 
an obligato of indescribable charm to his ardent, impromptu melody. 

Certain it is that the natural environment of his youth, ■what with 
its lovely broad stretches of undulating country-side; its jocund 
streams contributing to the zig-zagging Charles River; its paludal 

fields and meadows, trysting places for bobolinks and redwings; its peaceful 
hills of variegated woodland where the stately white pine, as if by universal 
decree, stood as exemplar for all — emblem of hope in its perennial freshness, 
symbol of unfaltering faith in its suppliant branches; certain it is that the 
influences of his inspiring environment lastingly impressed a nature so sensi- 
tive as his, so keenly, responsively alive. 

Significant too were the influences of sympathetic neighbors. On 
the one side of the Masons lived the village dominie, the Rev. Dr, 
Prentiss, already referred to as the pastor of the First Congregational 
Parish, and who likewise was supervisor of the Medfield public schools, 
A graduate of Harvard with the class of 1766, of cultivated mind and 
pronounced mental ability, Dr. Prentiss was often called upon to speak 
at public celebrations and to officiate at the community's various 
observances; as he exhibited, moreover, in addition to these more or 
less impersonal qualifications, characteristics ever kindly and al- 
truistic, those amongst whom he dwelt evinced for their pastor, together 
with their respect, a warm and constant affection — for of him it 
might be said, as, of another, Oliver Goldsmith sang: 

" - in his duty prompt at every call, 

He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all." 


J-jr BP 


XJus t 

3.e or. I 

it 'to 


.8JS .fojfcfl* 


If the Doctor's "sentiments in theology were what have generously 
been denominated orthodox /"one has written, "in declaring them he was 
free and explicit. — - - But he was not presumptuous and dogmatical, 
he was not overbearing and censorious. TShile ready to profess and vin- 
dicate what he believed to be truth and felt to be important truth he 
did it not in the language of reproach and triumph but with 'meakness 
of wisdom'.* He was indeed liberal . He possessed in a high degree that 
property which Dr. Watts denominates 'orthodoxy and charity united*," 

and which the apostle more happily describes by the phrase "speaking the 


truth in love . ; It was his aim rather to persuade than to compel men 

to receive and obey the truth. He was truly liberal — catholic, as 

well as orthodox — free from everything overbearing and censorious. 

His preaching was evangelical, plain and practical - - - . He 

faithfully declared the doctrines of the Gospel; but he declared them 

in a practical manner, and applied them to * every man's conscience in 

the sight of God'. - - - - The morality -which he inculcated was christim 

morality, founded on christian principles, and enforced by christian 

motives. He never entertained his hearers with an empty harangue on the 

mere 'form of godliness' - - - . If he did not venture far into those 

dangerous regions of metaphysical speculation and bold conjecture where 

so many have been bewildered and lost, he did search the Scriptures with 


diligence and fidelity." 

In the household of Doctor Prentiss, together with nine children 
of his own, there were usually four or more boys being tutored for college. 

1. The Rev. Joshua Bates, A. M. (1776-1854), one time pastor at Dedham, Mass- 
achusetts^ and later President of Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont, 
and Chaplain to the Congress. 



7£9V<» men 


enriioob beif?Io 


Thomas, one of the sons, was a fellow pupil and playmate of Lowell 
Mason, while a daughter, Mary as v/e shall see, wrote a validictory 
poem for her friend, as he went forth to make his way in the wo rid ♦ 
Thus a cordial relationship existed between the two families, and Mason 
often recalled in subsequent years the helpful influence of the broad- 
minded minister, as well as the delights and stimulus of his domestic 

Dr. Prentiss's long pastorate of forty- four years included the 
stirring period of our war for Independence, culminating v/ith the choice 
as everyone knows, of General Washington in 1789 as first President of 
the new Republic. The young students, under their instructor's genial 
guidance, were not infrequently thrilled by his graphic accounts of 
epoch-making events; the patriotism of Adams, Otis, Jefferson, Hamilton; 
the inestimable aid of the dauntless Lafayette, "hero of two continents'^ 
startling news from time to time of the shattering revolution in France; 
and when, in 1807, the Doctor depicted Robert Fulton's first successful 

steamboat, The Claremont, as it went running up and down the Hudson 
River, doubtless the excited interest of his youthful listeners, press- 
ing more closely about him with wide-open eyes and eager ears, reached a 
pitch ignoring all reasoni - 

On the other side of the Mason's, to the immediate north, lived 
George Whitfield Adams, brother of Hannah Adams (1755-1831), the 
authoress. Here at his home, Adams built pipe-organs — attraction 
enough for the young musical enthusiast, who had learned to play in 
addition to the violin, flute, 'cello and clarinet, the organ as well. 
The two neighbors, through their common interest in the "king of 
instruments", passed many a pleasant and profitable hour together at 


; art" 

tsrf to: areoq 

JO t -30J 

[aw ,-tetarnrfli bataxn 
to! e •aaiJ-fie-r! .id 

•tuo lo bcHeq 3flln-ii'8 

acr^ d"e*ixi as 98?I til no: 





3eyo K-qo-ebi*?' rfchtv 



Adams's workshop, — Mason acquiring a knowledge of organ construction 

that stood him in good stead through years to come, while he in turn, 

by way of balancing the account as it were, played for their maker the 

various organs as they approached completion, thus putting to practical 

test with a vie?; to possible betterment their tonal quality, volume, 

registration and other details. Frequently also on such occasions it 


was Mason's good fortune to meet the famous sister, whose "warmth of 

heart and cultivation of mind," we are told, "gave an enthusiasm and 


eloquence to her language, that astonished those who listened to her," 


and whose Summary History of New England — a pioneer work of its kind — 


the young man was then reading with especial attention and interest. 

Through Hannah Adams it was, furthermore, that Mason was introduced, 
during the winter of 1810-11 which he passed in Boston, to her friend 
and benefactor, the brilliant young divine, Joseph Stevens Buckminster 
(1784-1812) whose sermons at the Church in Brattle Street, of which he 
was the pastor from 1805 until his death, aroused the 

1. The late Miss Augusta P. Adams (1825-1914), a relative, told me in 
1909 that both Hannah Adams and she had known well the members of the 
Mason family, including Lowell. Indeed, the family, through its dis- 
taff side (Catherine Hartshorn Mason being a descendant of Henry Adams, 
see p. 5), and the Adams family, were kinsfolk. H.L.M. 

2. From A Memoir of Miss Hannah Adams, written by herself , with additional 
Notices , by a friend. (fars. George G. Lee) * ( Gray and Bo wen. Boston, 1832). 

3. "IF/hen I compiled this work*," wrote Miss Adams in her Autobiography, 
"there was not any history of New England extant, except Mather's 
Magnalia, and Neale's History; and these extended only to an early 
period in the annals of our country. - - - My object was to render my 
compilation useful to those in early life, who had not time or oppor- 
tunity to peruse the large mass of materials, which, previously to ray 
compilation, lay scattered in many publications." 

4. Published at Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1799, Johnson Mason being one 
of the subscribers. 

( ' 


delight and wonder of all classes of hearers, and #10, in the words 
of his distinguished contemporary, Andrews Norton, "was, beyond all 
question, to be placed in the first rank of those by whom we have been 

best instructed in truth and most animated in virtue. 5 ' 

To become acquainted even with this liberally-minded minister was 
an event of impressive influence in Mason* s youthful years; while to be 
favored with so inspiring a friendship as ensued was cause for thanks- 
giving throughout his long life. And pleasant it is to recall that to a 
love of good music, and to the proper sort of singing as an act of worship 
this sympathetic tie was, in part at least, due. / 

Buckminister, as a boy, had learned "to blow the flutej j awhile in 
after years, like his youthful friend, he played the violin, violoncello 
and organ, finding throughout life his one habitual relaxation in music. 
As pastor of one of Boston's largest religious societies, he earnestly 
strove for the betterment of its musical service; and to this end he 
assisted in the preparation of an improved hymn-and-tune book for the use 
of his congregation. The book was published in 1810, bearing the title 
LXXX Psalm and Hymn Tunes for Public Worship , though commonly called, in 
honor of his church, The Brattle Street Collection . 

Eauipping his living-room at the parsonage (containing his copious 
library from -which books were freely lent) with a chamber organ, 
Buckminister frequently enjoyed, during the intervals between his hours 
of study, the recreation of "making" music; and here on one evening of 
each week he invited hi6 church singers to meet for rehearsal. Here 

1. From an article in the General Repository and Review , written in 
1812 shortly after Buckminster' s death, and reprinted in revised 
form in The Works of Joseph Stevens Buckminster ; with Memoirs of 
his life . (James Munroe and Company* Boston, 1839). 



i/I -xol estu/T gr-H 



too his friends both old and young were cordially received; and if by 
the elder the room soon came to be regarded as the "ministers' exchange", 
it was welcomed by the more youthful as an engaging center of attraction 
and helpful hospitality. And perhaps to a certain one of the latter, as 
with an open copy of The Brattle Street Collection before him he listened 
to his host's reverential playing, there was vouchsafed a foreshadowing 
of the work he himself was destined to do in the cause of devotional 
playing and singing, and in that also of establishing a clear understand- 
ing and just appreciation of the kind of music essentially appropriate 
to religious worship. Telling years were these for the maturing youth; 
contact with such neighbors and friends being privilege rare, the sterl- 
ing qualities of their individual characters playing no indefinite part 
in the molding of his own. 

Amos Albee, too, school-master and music-teacher, of Medfield, mat- 


erially aided the boy in his musical efforts. In 1805 Albee compiled 
and published The Norfolk Collection of Sacred Harmony , a copy of which 
may to-day be seen at the Yale University School of Music, — Albee' s 
compilation being among the volumes there in the Lowell Mason Library 
which was donated in 1875, at the suggestion of the Rev, George B. 
Bacon, D.D., to the Theological Seminary of the New Haven University 
by Mrs. Mason and her sons. On the flyleaf of Albee' s Collection appears, 
in the hand of Lowell Mason, the note: "This is the Book used at the 
first singing- school I ever attended which was taught by Amos Albee, 
the compiler. I must have been 13 years old then * * * * * 
sixty years have since passed away and I am now 73." 

Likewise, by Oliver Shaw (1779-1848), of the adjoining town of 
Dedham, friend and co-worker of Albee, Mason was given constructive 

1. In a letter vritten by Lowell kason (14 June, 1864) to his friend Melvin 
Lord, and now in the possession of the present writer, occurs the^ sentence 
"Albee was my first teacher; I have great respect for his memory rt . ,J 


lo y 


i5 er.J 


assistance. As composer, music- teacher, compiler of church music books, 

Shaw ("the blind singer") was prominently identified with that limited 

group which definitely reacted at the turn of the century against the 

then- prevailing "Billings method" (with its florid style and •fuguing* 

insistence), thus helping to prepare the way for improvement in the 

musical sentiment of the public, and toward a truer form of church song. 


In a biographical tribute to Oliver Shaw it is stated that Lowell 
Mnson once declared that he was "indebted to him for his start in life — 
that he owed all to him." 

However this may be, the work of Shaw, together with that of his 
fellows of the limited group (Andrew Law, Hans Gram, Samuel Holyoke, and 
others), is to be held in grateful remembrance; for though in a measure 
but tentative it served as a timely fillip to native composition, and 
as an earnest of further endeavor. 

Then, too, the lad was aided by one Lebbeus Smith, a family con- 
nection and teacher of singing; also by James Clark, a neighbor, who 
played the violin and gladly revealed to the young aspirant secrets of the 
bow and strings. Mason's own brothers, by-the-by, Johnson and Timothy, 
gave early evidence of a definite musical talent, the latter gaining 
prominence in Cincinnati, Ohio, some years later as organist, choir- 
master, and composer. Thus the neighborhood, as well as New England at 
large, possessed its melopoeian votaries in the days of Mason's boyhood; 
whilst he often stated in subsequent years that he believed "there was 
more musical talent in Medf ield than in any other Massachusetts town of 

1. See Memorial of Oliver Shaw , edited by a Committee under the 

auspices of the Rhode Island Veteran Citizens* Association, pub- 
lished at Providence, 1884, 

t .. ..;> : • : 


its size." 

During his youthful years I^ason attended the North School — subse- 
quently called in honor of his memory the Lowell Mason School — his 
desk-seat there being shared with the late Unitarian clergyman, Rev. Joseph 
Allen, D.D. (1730-1874), 8 lifelong friend, who ever maintained that Mason 
held high rank among the pupils. Another friend and school-mate, Ellis 
Allen (1732-1875), destined to become a well-known abolitionist warmly re- 
garded by Garrison, has recorded that Lowell Mason was the most talented, the 
most popular end the handsomest young man in town. By his companions he was 
well-liked and a tradition exists that his youthful contemporaries vere wont 
to gather about him as on summer evenings from the Meeting-house step§ he 
filled the air with melody from his clarinet. 

At sixteen he took charge of the choir at the First Congregational 
Church, an additional tie with its pastor, the Rev. Dr. Prentiss; while 
among those under his musical direction, together with his parents and 
brothers, were Major Jonathan Fiske (a deacon of the Church), Captain Vales 
Plimton, Captain Villiam Peters and other prominent townspeople. 

Four years later, 1812, he composed and dedicated to the neighboring 

oin^ing ociety of Dover a tnree-p^rt Anthem, first sun 6 ft an ordination' 

1 ^ 
service. So far as is known this was his earliest composition; and to it he 

gave as a title that of the text, by Philip Doddridge, D.D., to which it 

was set — Ordination . 

At an early age, too, he became the leader of a Band in the village 
of Athol, some forty-five miles distant from Medfield, — a fact not without 
its predictive significance since in after years he was to become the leader, 
not alone of musical organizations, but of men. 

In connection with this Athol Band an incident is told illustrative of 
his diligence and tact. On the occasion of the first rehearsal certain 
members appeared with instruments of which he knew little or nothing. He 

suggested that they be left with him until the next meeting, that he 

might tune them all to the same pitch. This indeed he did, but more too! 

For during the week's interval he constantly practiced on the instrument 

then so strange to him, in anticipation of any emergency that might aris 

And herein the son reflected the discernment so characteristic of the 

father — the practical merchant! 

It was at Athol furthermore that Lowell Mason began his professional 

life of teaching, as he himself explains in a letter of reply, addressed 


(many years later) to Mrs. Daniel Bliss at Beirut, Syria. As the letter 
contains several details of interest it is here transcribed (Mrs. Bliss 
having kindly sent it in 1909 to the present writer): 

Orange, N. J. 
7th January, 1864. 

My dear Mrs. Bliss: 

I can not tell you what delightful remembrances your 
kind note has brought up in my mind. It was at Athol, ivlass., 
where I made my first entrance into my professional life. It was 
there I first assumed to be a teacher. It awakens gratitude to 
Him who has led me along life's path to think of the circumstances 
by which I was first guided to that place; my kind reception 
there, my success, etc. I love to think of Athol and of my engage- 
ment and doings there j not infrequently in the night season when 
sleep refuses to close up the avenues of my mind, I bring up in my 
imagination the scenes of that winter. 

I had never taught; my instrument was the clarinet, on 
which some of the gentlemen (my pupils) had playec half as many 
years as I was old. So that in ray youth and inexperience I becams 
a teacher of veterans. It would amuse you could I relate some of 

1. Abby Maria (V.bod) Bliss (1850-1915) was the wife of Rev. Daniel 
Bliss, D.D. (1825-1916), American missionary and educator. A grad- 
uate of Amherst College, 1852, and of Andover Theological Semi- 
nary, 1855, Wr s ordained shortly thereafter to the Congregation;-. 1 
ministry. Appointed to Syria by the American Board°*Commissioners £ot 
Foreign Missions he served for thirty-six years as A president of the 
Syrian Protestant College, of which in 1902 he became president 
emeritus, being succeeded as president by his son, the Rev. Howard 
Sweetser Bliss. For an unusually interesting account of the work 
accomplished by Dr. Bliss, in which his wife most helpfully shared, 
see The Reminiscences of Daniel Bliss, Edited and Supplemented 1 
His Eldest Son (Fleming H. Revell Company. New York. 1920). 

Significant indeed regarding the work accomplished is the following 
comment from Chapter Xlll of Yonder lies Adventure , by E. Alexander 
Powell (The Macmillen Company. New York. 1952: 

"William F. Gladstone once remarked that American 
missionaries had done more for the Levant than all the 
governments of Europe put together and of all the American 
missionaries in the Levant, none exercised so powerful an 
influence for good over so great a number of people as Dr. 
Daniel Bliss, the founder and first president of the Ameri- 
can University at Beirut — or the Syrian Protestant Col- 
lege, as it was then known — and his son, Dr. Howard S. 
Bliss, who succeeaea his father as president of that remark- 
able institution." 


my early doings when commencing that class (military 
Band), but I must not attenfpt it now. 

And so, my dear lira. B., I suppose Abby Sweetser 
was yr. mother! V.'hy did you not tell me this before? 
fehy did you not come to Orange with your husband & 
thus give me an opportunity to talk of her & Athol, 
where I suppose you was born? Some years ago [78^8^ 
there was a Teachers 1 Institute in Athol — one of the 
State Teachers' Institutes — Teachers, I do not mean 
of music, but of common schools. I attended, as I have 
attended them from their first commencement, & there 
after I had been lecturing, your good Mother kindly 
came up to me, & introduced herself. I think she asked 
me to tea, but for some reason I could not go, so I 
had only a few minutes' conversation with her. I did 
not in my conversation with her refer to the "horror- 
striking" circumstance you allude toj it did not occur 
to me at the time — yet I well remember it now. The 
Ball was held at yr. Grandfather's, & at that time I 
was nearly as much interested in dancing as in music, 
& it seems to me as if I could almost remember oar 
position in the room. But pray, what was there 
horrible about it? I assure you we were very civil. 
Be it as it may, that very circumstance endears the 
recollection of your blessed Mother to me now, St 
not only so, it draws out a stronger love for the 
daughter than I should otherwise have felt. I never 
saw yr. Mother but once afterwards (the summer follow- 
ing when I visited Athol when I suppose I must have 
met her) until the time already mentioned. Oh! how 
delightful to know that soon afterwards she received 
into her heart the blessed freedom Christ gives, & 
that after living a long and consistent Jtlen life 
she has gone to her everlasting reward. Dear Krs. B., 
we v.ill "call her blessed". Soon after my Athol life, 
I went to Savannah, Geo. where I remainec fifteen 
years. Almost immediately on my arrival there, I too, 
as I trust, found Kim, as the m -'.'ay, the Truth, the 
Life" — St for more than half a century I have been 
His professed follower. Alas! that I should regard it 
necessary to underscore the word professed 1 But a most 
inconsistent Prodigal-Son-like Xtirn life mine has 
been — wandering - feeding on husks - returning - 
again St again. And now I am nearing port; blessed be the 
Lord for the cheering hope which dwells in me. God will 
sustain me, carry me all my journey thro' (it can not 
be much longer) & give me victory in the end. 




Pear Mrs. Bliss, I thank you for yr. note; I 
thank you much for bringing up to my mind recollec- 
tions of half a century ago & more, so pleasing. 

Kind regards to Mr. B. 
Very truly yours, 

Lowell Meson. 

•On the margin of this letter its recipient added, with her initials, the 
v;ords: "The Ball mentioned was given in the Hall of a hotel belonging to my 
Grandfather. Doctor Mason end my Mother led it off together! The next year 
she organized the first Sunday-School in £thol. A.W.B." 

. Would that we might see the letter which called forth this reply! In- 
teresting would be the remark which occasioned "But pray, what was there 
horrible about it?" In the heyday of youth "the most popular and the hand- 
somest young man in town" had been thoroughly happy in a naive, invigorating 
joy, recollection of which, when over half a century had sped by, and she who 
had merrily shared the joy with him was gone from the world forever, brought 

vividly to his mind the happiness afresh, together with gratitude to God, Fho 

c.o^l, hi* effort* l< -.1 >V , 

had led him "all along life's path"," and to Whom his life was so wholly con- 
secrated. Significant is the thought "Be it as it may, that very circumstance 
endears the recollection of your blessed Mother to me now, & not only so, it 
draws out a stronger love for the daughter than I should otherwise have felt." 

Lowell Mason was a man of profound religious feeling, but of openness of 
mind as well) he loved God and God's world — "all things both great and 
small." Of warm affections, his thought was for the welfare, not alone of 
kith and kin, but of all. 

1. Samuel Sweetser (1765-1842), father of Abby Moore (Sweetser) ^ood (1705- 
1865) and grandfather of Abby ( r ood) Bliss (1850-1915), wag a much respected 
citizen, owner of the Tavern at Athol Centre a.nd one of the State's most 
successful sheep-raisers. Lowell Mason lived at his home while at Athol 
conducting t6* B&fld.- in \ 


And this welfare of others he sought through kindliness and 
understanding, never with dictatorial intent. Characteristics such as 
these, combined with an unusual will power, clear vision and an extra- 
ordinary capacity for application, enabled him to accomplish the tasks 
he set himself and led to recognition of him as a man of sterling 
quality; as a teacher with no superior and but few contemporary equals — 
not in music alone but in a broad pedagogic sense; his friend, Horace 
Mann, reformer of the Massachusetts public- school system, declaring 
he "would walk fifty miles to see him teach if he could not otherwise 
have that privilege . 

And if, through force of will, he appeared at times unyielding, was 
he not therein justified by the reforms he effected? Had he not perse- 
vered, his ideas of progress had provoked condemnation rather than 
approval, his efforts toward advance had been nugatory rather than success- 
ful. But whatever the opposition to his plans, whatever the criticism 
of himself or his aims, and much of both inevitably arose, he went un- 
waveringly on, secure in his faith, resolute of purpose and, like 
Melibeus of the Canterbury Tale, with forgiveness in his heart for all. 
"No outrage", as Macaulay says of Addison, "could ever provoke him to 
retaliation unworthy of a Christian and a gentleman /( On more than one 
occasion an opponent became his supporter on being given but the oppor- 
tunity of knowing him as he really was. He cite a case in point: "A 
young writer on musical topics in the periodical press, upon partial 
information, made a somewhat bitter attack upon him. No other notice 
was taken of it than was involved in Mr. Mason' s inviting him to his 
house and giving him the free use of his library. Prejudice soon gave 
way to respect and admiration on his part, while on the other a kindly 

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feeling grey; up, which resulted in a loan of a handsome sum of money, to be repaid 

at convenience, without interest, to enable the young man to pursue his studies 

in Europe. Not until years had passed did the latter know, and then not from his 


benefactor, that the article above-named had deeply pained and wounded him." 

But to return to former days; we see by the letter to Mrs. Bliss that Mason's 
first pupils were "veterans," and he, young and inexperienced. Undoubtedly, the 
associations and environment of early years had nourished a natural bent on his 
part for teaching, and the wonder is that his father still desired, despite the 
enthusiasm of others with which the son's first endeavors were met, that the 
young man should enter commercial life. Helas, the practical merchant again! But 
with filial regard for his parent's wishes, a quality strongly marked in him, 
Mason obtained a position in a mercantile house at Boston, and there he remained 
for a time, and there, too, since the truth alone is lasting, he was not so alto- 
gether static as he might have been. 

But time was on the wing; he and his companions were approaching their majority. 


Joseph Allen and "Tom" Frentiss, whilom schoolmates and playfellows of Mason, v.'ere 
away at Harvard College and about to graduate from there. He, as they, must soon 
decide whst was to be done in life. Schooldays were over and although these, in 
his case, had been limited in number, if, as Carlyle declares, "The history of a 
man's childhood is the description of his parents and environment," his education 

1. See Lowell lias on , by Alexander W. Thayer (1817-37); originally published in the 
London Musical Horld, 1879, in two parts; part 1, in issue of August 50; part 2, 
in issue of September 6. Reproduced in The Musical Record ? Boston, September, 
1878. (Oliver Ditson & Co.) 

2. Thomas Frentiss, Jr. (1785-1817), entered Harvard College at the age of four- 
teen, graduating in 1811. The following year he was engaged to teach in the 
Brookline grammar school. Licensed to preach in 1814, he was installed, March 
1817, as the first pastor of the Second Congregational Society (Unitarian) in 
Charlestown, Massachusetts, renamed in 1857 The Harvard Church in Charlestown. 
But his pastorate was brief; for on 5 October, 1817, he died of typhus fever. 


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depended by no means upon the actual days passed at school. "The expressly 
appointed schoolmasters and schoolings," again Carlyle, "are as nothing, com- 
pared with the unappointed incidental and continual ones, whose school-hours 
are all the days and nights of our existence, and whose lessons, noticed or 
unnoticed, stream-in upon us with every breath we draw." 

The opinion of the community that Lowell Mason "was a wayward and unpromising 
boy" was fallacious; for in reality the years of his youth proved to be a golden 
period of apprenticeship. During these years he laid the foundation for an un- 
commonly useful career, while in teaching himself to p^ay upon various instrum- 
ents he formed, not alone the habit of self -discipline, but the basis too of 
that larger teaching in which he was destined to excel. 

But the earth, meanwhile, was moving as ever in its oscillating course around 

the sun; season followed season, and again spring was come, bringing with its 

manifold signs of joy and hope the days of graduation from school and college — 

turning-points in the lives of so many young men and women. And, as we know, 

young I.Iason's friends, Allen and Prentiss, were among such at Harvard, whence 

they would go forth into the toil of the world. 

As Class Day at Cambridge approached much interested was manifested 


at Medfield. "It was a great event," writes ivir. Tilden, "in a small 

1. History of the Town of I-ledfield . oy V.illiam S. Tilden. (Geo. H. Ellis, Pub- 
lisher, Boston. 1887). 



country town for one of its sons to graduate from Harvard with high 
honors, and great preparations were made for the occasion. The graduate 
was clad in a black coat and small-clothes, with black silk stockings 
tied with ribbons at the knee. All these were made in his father 1 s house, 
as also his ruffled shirts. His pumps were made by the town shoemaker. 
Several friends of his were invited to go down to Cambridge with the 
family. Among these were Lowell Mason and "Wickliffe Adams (a second 
brother of the authoress, Hannah Adams). The whole party numbering 
twenty-five, arrayed in their best, started from Medfield in carriages 
at 4 A.M. and drove to Cambridge. A 'spread' was arranged. Everything 
for the tables except the warm meats was cooked at home, and carried down 
by the family. Two colored men walked down from Medfield to serve at the 

On this day Edward Everett graduated, and gave the English oration. 
Another Medfield boy, Thomas Prentiss, Jr., also graduated the same day 
with Joseph Allen. The Medfield party drove home in the evening, arriving 
about midnight." 

Still another member of this class, 1811, "destined to sing his way 
along the college generations as the author of 'Fair Harvard' ,-" was 
Samuel Gilman (1791-1858), clergyman and writer, who in 1829 described 
with delicate humor and piquancy a typical phase of early New England 
life in his Memoirs of a New England Village Choir . 

A jolly time they must have had and doubtless the excursion often 

1. From Edward Everett , Orator and State sman » by the Rev. Paul Revere 
Frothingham (1864-1926), Houghton Mifflin Company, 1925. 


became the topic of conversation to those who had made up the company. 
For two of these, at all events, future plans were definite ~ Joseph 
Allen having decided to prepare for the ministry, and Prentiss, to teach 

A ■ ~ • 

school. For a third, young Mason, companion of both, prospects were not 
so clear, his natural appetency calling him in one direction, the desire 
of his parents pointing to another. Before the expiration of many months, 
however, he received a proposal that met with general approval, — to 
become teller in a bank at Savannah, Georgia. If to the mind of the 
"practical merchant" the plan seemed providentially opportune, to the 
mind of the son there lay therein a solution, possible at least, of the 
problems of uncertainty and confusion that had grown more and more press- 
ing with each succeeding year. It so happened, moreover, that just at 
this juncture Mason's friend and next door neighbor, George W. Adams, 
was leaving for the Southern city as a teacher, and that a Mr. Nathaniel 
Bosworth, also of Medfield, planned to accompany him. To their suggestion 
that Mason join them, the young man promptly agreed. 
Well may his thoughts have been, 

"My own voice cheered me, and, far more, the mind*s 
Internal echo of the imperfect sound; 
To both I listened, drawing from them both 
A cheerful confidence in things to come." 

And so to him, as to his friends on Class Day, a turning-point was 

come; he was to strike out for himself, and put to the test that which 

was in him. 

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Chapter Vll . 
Part One 

The wrench which young Mason felt on leaving his family, his 
friends and scenes so endeared to him, -was tempered »o»e— the-la^s 
by the thought that a field of broader usefulness lay else-where; to 
be a man he must set forth with a valiant heart no less than an affect- 
ionate one — elso all worth while were lost. Commingling with this 
thought, too, a sustaining exhilaration and an eagerness there were as 
he contemplated a change from the life he had thus far known, limited 
as that perforce had been, to one of wider and fuller possibilities. 
From the future's very uncertainty, in fact, insecure and perplexing 
as that had hitherto seemed, he now drew encouragement and confidence 
as he realized the importance, and the opportunity as well, of making 
the present at least certain and secure. 

On November 27, 1812, then, he departed, with his two companions, 
for Savannah, travelling thither, a thousand miles or more, with horses 
and wagon; for this was prior to the days of steam-trains and railways, 
to say nothing of the motor-car, or the aeroplane! In his pocket he 
carried a letter received two days previously from his father; and so 
characteristic is this of him who wrote it, combining sound sense with 
unfailing devotion, that we transcribe it verbatim , — spelling, punct- 
uation, and all. Johnson Mason was a man of uprightness and sagacity, 
his sincerity of purpose outweighing such error of grammar as in his 
untutored strength he honestly made. 

Medfield, Novr 22 1812 - 

My Son As you are about setting out on a long 
and I fear furteagueing journey I cannot refrain 
from making a few observations to you by way of 
advice before your departure - your abilities and 
address in many particulars I think sufficient to 
recommend you (at least) to the second class in 
sosiety the prinsipal indowments in which I think 
you defisient in (as it respects the present life) 
is Prudence and Economy in the first of these par- 
ticulars I should not only include a prudential 
care of your own property but a strict Assiduity, 
and carefull attention in whatever you may be called 
on to transact for others - by Economy I do not mean 
to be understood Selfisness but a medium between 
extravigence and meanness which are both detestable 
in the minds of the wise and good If it should 
please a kind Providence to prosper you in any un- 
dertaking so that you should be accumulating a small 
property to your self you will find plenty of Wolves 
in Sheaps Clothing to devower it by int icing flattery, 
or (if by) fals statements it can be obtained but es- 
pecially in the cience of Music for that will prob- 
ably make your circle of acquaintance large in a 
short space of time so there will not be that chance 
to distinguish the real charracters of your acquaint- 
ance that there would be in some other occupations 
where you would be more deliberate and longer in 
forming connections. In a word you cannot be too 
cautious about joining parties and I should recom- 
mend you to evade them as much as possable - You 
will find the manners of the People very different 
at the Southward from what it is here or in New 
York I expect Gaming and Sabbath Braking are 
among the many bad practices which you will find 
prevalent in Georgia and the Southern States which 
I hope by the care of a kind Providence you will be 
able to withstand also numerous other Vices which 
it is not necessary to enumerate - If you should 
not meet with the success at your journeys end 
which you expect (which I am fearfull may be the 
case) you ought not to dispond but maintain steady 
habbits and have A particular eye to devine provi- 
dence in all you do. 
Nov 25 

I hope there will be some opening here next 
Spring Dshich will be to your advantage and mine If 
so I shall inform you but if things should not prove 
more favourable in the Spring than they are now 
should not advise you by any means to stay at the 
Southward dureing Summer shall write you as soon 



as I can be informed of your Arrival in Savannah - 
wish you to write me without fail from New York and 
Alexandria give my respects to Mr. Kellogg and re- 
quest Mr. D. Met calf to give you the proceeds of the 
last Box of Bonnets if they are sold - I am with 
esteem your 

Affectionate father, 
Johnson Mason. 

Mr. Metcalf vail give you all the proceeds of 
my Bonnets except 50 Dollars vahich I owe Mr. 
Baxter of Boston 

On arriving at his destination fifty-five days later the son, 

with promptness and detail, wrote to his parents at Medfield. His 

letter, narrating incidents of interest and indicating a methodical 

sense, is given in full, lengthy though it is: 

Savannah January 21, 1813 

Dear Parents I am at length able to inform you of 
my arrival this day at this place after an unpleasant, 
agreeable, fatiguing, fine, long, tedious journey of 
fifty five days. Having left you on Friday 27th Nov. 
1812- we passed through Medway and Bellingham to 
Mend on 17 miles. We staid the night with Mr, Jackson. 
Saturday 28th. Passed through Uxbridge and Douglass 
to Thompson in the state of Connecticut 21 miles. 
Sunday 29th. Went to meeting & heard Rev. Daniel 
Dow- a high calvinist. Monday 30th. Through Pomfret 
& Ashford to Mansfield 23 miles. Tuesday Dec. 1st. 
Through Coventry, Bolton and East Hartford to the 
city of Hartford 23 miles. Wednesday 2nd Through 
Weathersfield and Berlin to Marridon 17 miles. 
Thursday 3rd Through Walingford, Hamden and North 
Haven to the city of New Haven 17 Miles. Friday 4th. 
We remained at N. Haven on account of rain. Satur- 
day 5th. Through Milford and Stratford to Bridge- 
port 18 miles. Sunday 6th. Went to meeting. Monday 
7th. Through Middlesex, Sokunteek, Norwalk, Stam- 
ford, Greenwich, Rye, to Mamaroneck in the State of 
New York 32 miles. Tuesday 8th. Through New Rochel, 
East Chester, West Chester, Harleim, to the city of 
New York 22 miles. 9th and 10th we staid in New York. 
Friday 11th. Crossed Hud sons river in a steam boat 


and passed through Powlershook in the State of New 
Jersey- Barbadoes, Elizabethtovm, Bridgetown, Wood- 
bridge to the city of New Brunswick the capital of 
New Jersey, 32 miles. Saturday 12th, From New Bruns- 
wick to Trenton 27 miles. Here we 6aw the ground on 
which the famous Battle was fought in the revolution- 
ary war. Sunday 13th. Crossed Trenton bridge across 
the Delaware river & passed through Morrisville & 
Bristol to the city of Philadelphia in the State of 
Pennsylvania 30 miles. Evegt went to church. Mon- 
day 14th. Remain in Philadelphia. Tuesday 15th. 
Crossed the Schuylkill- passed through Darby, Ridley, 
Chester, to the city of Wilmington the principal place 
in the State of Delaware. Bristol, Stanford, Cristia- 
nia to Slktown 36 miles. Wednesday 16th. North East, 
Charlestown, Crossed the Susquehannah to Havre de 
Grace 31 miles. As we were ascending a very steep 
hill in North East Town Mr. Bosworth's Trunk fell 
out unperceived by us. We proceeded about three 
quarters of a mile before we discovered our loss- 
and we had met only one Negro - we knew it must have 
fell out at the hill- accordingly we turned about 
and drove immediately to the place - but behold the 
trunk was gone - there were two houses in sight - we 
enquired at both of them but without effect- We 
therefore concluded that the Negro we had met must 
have hid it in the woods- which were on all sides 
of us. Mr. Bosworth took the Pistol, Mr. Hall a club 
& myself a Dagger and we went in different directions 
in the woods - after about two hours search I found 
it in a Ditch covered up with leaves - but no negro- 
we were in a great hurry or we should have hid ourselves 
and taken him when he came after it - Thursday 17. 
Through Bush and Abington to the city of Baltimore in 
the State of Maryland 36 miles. Friday 18th. remained 
in Baltimore- went to see the remains of the house 
that the Federalists defended in Charles Street against 
the fury of a Democratic mob, and the spot where 
Genl Lingan was barbarously murdered. Saturday 19th. 
Through Blensburgh to the City of Washington in the 
District of Columbia - the capitol of the U. States. 
Sunday 20th. At Washington. Monday 21st. Through 
Georgetown, crossed the Potomac river, through Alexan- 
driam ? by Mount Vernon to Colchester in the State of 
Virginia 25 miles. At Mount Vernon we saw the seat of 
Genl Washington which is beautiful beyond any descrip- 
tion I can give- it is on a high piece of ground on 
the banks of the Potomac. The tomb of the American hero 
stands under a cluster of cedars about one hundred yards 
from the house. There is no monument of any description 

whatever - it is 8 miles from Alexandria and 16 
from Washington city. William Lee a black man, 
servant of Genl Washington in the Americsn army is 
yet living. The seat is no- occupied by Judge 
Bushrod Washington. Tuesday 22nd. Through Dumfries 
and Aqua to Stafford 25 miles. Wednesday 23rd. Fal- 
mouth, crossed the Rappahannock to Bowling Green 
31 m. Thursday 24th. Through Hannover to (illegible) 
31 miles. Friday 25th. Passed through no town today 
untill we arrived at the city of Richmond 26 miles. 
Here we saw the ruins of the Theatre that was burnt 
in Deer, 1311. A Church is now building on the spot- 
and directly underneath it is the tomb of about 60 
of the unfortunate persons who perished at that time. 
Saturday 26th. Through Petersburgh 26 miles. Sunday 
27th. (no town today) 31 miles* Monday 28th. Crossed 
the Roanoke into the State of North Carolina 24 miles. 
Tuesday 29th. Went a-hunting. Wednesday 30th through 
Warrenton 24 miles. Thursday 31st. Through Louisburg 
31 miles. Friday January 1st, 1813. Through the city 
of Raleigh the capitol of North Carolina. 30 miles. 
Saturday 2nd. To Averysborough 18 miles. Sunday 3rd. 
To Fayetteville 25 miles. Here Mr. Hall concluded to 
stay and teach musick we left him on Monday 4th. (no 
town today) 23 miles. Tuesday 5th (no toxvn) 26 miles. 
Wednesday 6th. Hunting Deer. Thursday 7th (No Town) 
passed into the State of South Carolina. 15 miles. 
Friday 8th. Crossed Pede river. Passed through Green- 
ville over Long Bluff 20 miles. Saturday 9th (No Town) 
23 miles. Sunday 10th to Stateburgh on the high hills 
of Santee 15 miles. 11th and 12th. Staid at Stateburgh. 
Wednesday 13th. Crossed the Lakes (?), the Congree and 
Wateree rivers and went to Belle Ville 23 miles. 14th. 
Staid at Belle Ville on the account of rain. Friday 
15th. To Orangeburgh 25 miles. Here we found Mr. Cummins. 
16th. Staid with Mr. Cummins. Sunday 17th. Went 23 miles 
(No Town). Monday 18th, went 30 miles - through water so 
deep that it came into the waggon. Tuesday 19th. Went 
33 miles (no town, house, or any thing else). Wednesday 
20th. Crossed Savannah river at the Two Sisters ferry - 
went 27 miles. Thursday 21st. Arrived at Savannah 16 miles. 

The whole distance if I have added it right is one 
thousand and eighty- eight miles. Although we have gener- 
ally found good entertainment on the road- yet we have 
several times put up at a little log house where there 
was but one room, a large family of children and fifteen 
or twenty negroes- this was not altogether comfortable. 
Our horses held out remarkably well and are in 
good order at present, I board at a very good house 
kept by Mrs. Battey. Mr. B. and myself occupy three 
rooms - one apiece for a bed and one between us for musick. 
I have called on Doc. Kollock- who is an extremely fine 

> - smooi 
jo evflri T 


man. He thinks I shall meet with encouragement. 
I find however that my prospects are materially 
different from -what I expected by Mr. Bosworth 1 s 
account — if I make two hundred dollars in all 
I shall think I do well — indeed I have offered 
to let myself for $150 to Mr. B. and he will not 
give it. But it is certain I must make 2 or 300 
before I can return home. I wrote to you from 
New York and informed you of the money I had re- 
ceived there on your account. When we got to 
Alexandria we found we should be deficient and I 
got $20 of Mr. Metcalf which I shall consider 
myself indebted to you for. I shall expect to 
receive a letter from you as soon as this reachee 
you (illegible) write on one sheet to prevent post- 
age. I hope by the time I write you again I can 
give you a more pleasant account of my business. 
It is very warm here — so as to be some days quite 
uncomfortable — and amongst imprudent people it is 
unhealthy (there has a number died within a few days 
after having been sick but two or three days) I 
suppose there is about 8 or 10 die weekly. I shall 
not think of staying in the city next summer if I 
do not come home — but shall probably return as far 
as some part of South or North Carolina. From New 
York we shipped the guns by Water and they arrived 
here in four days. Mr. Bosworth is willing to ack- 
nowledge now that it would have been much better 
if we had come by water. N. Underwood is at No. 
30 north 2nd St. Philadelphia — he said he would 
attend to any business you wished him to do. I 
wrote to Mr. Hill from Washington and requested him 
to give you this information. Lucretia will remember 
me to all my young friends and thank Mary Prentiss 
for the Poem. 

Goodbye for the present. 

L. Mason. 

His message to Lucretia, his sister, indicates that through all 
the excitement of an "unpleasant, agreeable, fatiguing, fine, journey^",-^ 
thought of his friends remained steady and true, while "thank Mary 
Prentiss for the Poem" suggests a relationship of tenderness between 
one of those friends and himself! But no mention does he make of his 
birthday, January 8, other than the matter-of-fact item of itinerary, 
although on this day he became of age. On reaching Savannah he appears 
to have lost no time; for, as stated in his letter written on the day of 

10^ 8 

OJI 780 


his arrival, he called upon the Rev, Dr. Henry Kollock, minister 
of the Independent Presbyterian Church, and secured rooms at Mrs. 


Battey's — one of the several "flourishing boarding-houses in the city 

Enlightening as to his activities at the time is a letter from 
one of his friends — a Mr. B. Mallon, of Atlanta, Georgia; which, to- 
gether with excerpts from a letter addressed to him by Lowell Mason, ap- 
peared over half a century later in an Article published in the South - 
ern Musical Journal , of Savannah, for September 1872. 

Atlanta, Aug. 24, 1872 
Editors of Southern Musical Journal, 
Savannah, Ga. : 

Gentlemen: — In response to your request that 
I should write you what I may know of the Savannah 
career of Dr# Lowell Mason, recently deceased, I 
take pleasure in sending you the following particu- 
lars, gathered some years ago xdiile I was preparing 
a paper on the origin and history of Sunday Schools 
in Savannah. 

Lowell Mason came to Savannah (January, 1813) and 
remained until 1827, when he removed to Boston. Of 
his occupations, and the chief incidents of his life 
during these years, I will permit him to speak for 
himself in some extracts from a very interesting let- 
ter received from him about three years ago. Mr. 
Mason was conspicuously useful in the organization 
and management of the first Sunday School in Savannah. 
Indeed it was one of the first Sunday Schools in the 
country. It was organized in the winter of 1815 by 
Lowell Mason and his worthy coadjutors, S.G. Schenk, 
Josiah Penfield, Edward Coppee and others. 

The Savannah Sabbath School, as it was called, was 
commenced with seven scholars, all boys; and was kept 
for the first year in the building belonging to Solo- 
mon's Lodge. * * * Mr. Mason was chosen Superin- 
tendent of the School at its opening, and he continued 
to hold the office until his removal from the city in 
1827, a period of about 12 years. Until the year 1822 
this was the only Sunday School in the city. It was 

1. See Historic and Picturesque Savannah , by Adelaide Wilson, pub- 
lished for the Subscribers by The Boston Photogravure Company, 

a union school, and the several religious denom- 
inations were represented, both among the scholars 
and teachers. The teachers engaged in this work, then 
a new enterprise, and regarded by many as an experi- 
ment of doubtful result, were among the most intellig- 
ent and influential men and women of the city of Savan- 
nah; and that they were God-fearing, zealous, self-sac- 
rificing Christians, and faithful and successful teach- 
ers, is manifest on every page of the interesting re- 
cords of the school, which are still preserved. These 
records are comprised in two large quarto volumes bound 
in leather, and are in the possession of the Superin- 
tendent of the Independent Sunday School, which is 
the successor in direct line of the original Savannah 
Sunday School. They were all written by the hand 
of Mr. Mason, and on account of their fullness and 
minuteness of detail are exceedingly interesting, ex- 
hibiting one of the phases of the interior life and 
history of Savannah more than half a century ago. 

Lowell Mason deserves to be gratefully remembered 
by the people of Savannah, The great success of the 
Sunday School movement in Savannah was undoubtedly due 
in great part to his energy, perseverance, unflagging 
zeal, and unusual tact and administrative ability. He 
always retained the pleasantest remembrances of that 
portion of his life which he spent in Savannah, and 
frequently manifested his continued interest in the wel- 
fare of the city by liberal donations to Churches' and 
Sunday Schools. 

I herewith give you a portion of the letter referred 
to above: 

Orange, N.J. , Sept. 20th, 1869. 
Dear Sir:- Your very kind and interesting letter 
of the 7th instant was received by me only a half 
hour since. It was directed to Boston, Mass., which 
place I left in 1851. I have lived in this place for 
some fifteen years past. Your letter awakens in my 
mind remembrances of scenes, persons and labors most 
dear to me. I often look back upon the nearly fif- 
teen years spent in Savannah with the most thank- 
ful and grateful feelings; thanks to Him who in His 
providence led me there, and gratitude to Him for 
the provision, protection, and preservation I ex- 
perienced, and to the very kind friends I found 
there; and especially does the recollection of that 
little band of Christian brethern, of different de- 
nominations, yet united by the strongest ties of 
Christian affection, often so fill my soul as to en- 
force tears. Blessed band of brethern, united in 
their labors for the good of those around them, now 

all gone to their reward, with the exception of 
the writer, who now lacks but three months of 
seventy eight years of agei 


I have now gone through your letter of inquiry, 
endeavoring to answer you as well as I could. One 
remains of whom. I have not attempted much to speak, 
and on whom modesty would require me to be silent} 
but as modesty was never one of my strong virtues, 
I will go on, begging you to forgive the egotism 
which will probably be apparent, (Suddenly, and as 
if with a twinkle in his eye, the writer at this point 
adopts the third person !") 

Lowell Mason was born in Lledfield, Mass., January 
8, 1792. * * When nearly twenty- one, events 
occurred which caused him to go to Savannah, Ga« 
When he arrived there he had but a capital of ten 
dollars with which to commence business; but he im- 
mediately began to teach singing, and to some extent, 
instrumental music. He found other employment in a 
store which occupied his time during the day, and in 
the evening his schools received attention. He had 
a letter to Rev. Dr. Henry Kollock, who received him 
kindly, and aided him much in obtaining pupils. He 
attended Dr. Kollock' s church, and he also immediately 
became interested in the great subject of religion, 
and, as he humbly hopes, now, after a period of nearly 
sixty years, experienced that change without -which sal- 
vation cannot be known. He soon united with Dr. Kollock 
church, where, for many years, he was the leader of song 
in public and social worship. He was the means of in- 
troducing an organ into the public religious service, 
which instrument he played, and at the same time led 
the singing. He formed and regularly trained a choir 
of about thirty persons for singing in church, for he 
was not then as he most decidedly is now, and has been 
for some thirty years past, the advocate of universal 
or congregational singing in worship, — thinking it 
indeed the best, if not the only true method of conduct- 
ing the service. Even though musical art may suffer by 
it, devotion will be elevated. But enough of this for 
the present purpose. 

Mr. Mason became superintendent of the Sunday 
school from its commencement. He possessed one trait 
which was important to the school; I think it was 
almost the only one which gave success — it was punct- 
uality. He insisted upon every teacher being present 
at the head of his class at the opening of the school. 
T have heard him say to his teachers, — T would rather 
have one of these pillars for a teacher, than a man or 

Jmoq eirfi" 


woman who is deficient in punctuality. I have 
known him ever since, and I do not believe he 
has changed his mind. 

Dear Sir, what you have heard is right; my heart 
swells with joy and gratitude at the remembrance of 
those years I spent in Savannah. In September, 1817, 
I returned to Massachusetts, and brought back with 
me to Savannah a wife, my companion from that time, 
and who was well acquainted with all the persons 
mentioned in this letter. She is still spared to me, 
and rejoices with me in the unlooked-for fact, that 
at this late day, our residence and labors in Savan- 
nah are even more highly appreciated than we have 
reason to think they ought to be. 

The 'Missionary Hymn?* 1 the music, I mean, was com- 
posed by me in Savannah, at the request of one of my 
very dear teachers in the Sunday School, Miss Mary W« 
Howard, and was, in its first edition, dedicated to 
her. It was there sang, though first printed in sheet 
form in Boston. 

In 1827, I removed to Boston, having had an invi- 
tation from a large committee consisting of different 
denominations of Christians, to remove to that city, 
and take a kind of general charge of music in churches 
there. From that time for about twenty- five years, I 
labored hard in the cause of church music, and there I 
wrote those lines which have become so popular. 

I was for seven or eight years a clerk in the Plant- 
er's Bank, in Savannah, during the latter part of which 
time Mr. Geo. W. Anderson was President. Previous to 
this I was for a few years in the dry goods business. 
"While in Savannah, I eked out my salary by being sec- 
retary of the Union Society; Librarian of the Savannah 
Library, etc. 

Dear Sir: I have written this letter in great haste. 
I have cataract growing over both eyes, and it is dif- 
ficult for me to write — indeed, most of my letters 
are written by an amanuensis; but this I thought I 
must write myself. So I beg you to look upon it in 
charity, and receive it for what it ought to be, 
rather than what it is. 

And now, with much love to all the dear friends, 
engaged in the ever dear city of Savannah, in the 
ever blessed work of Sunday School instruction, 
I am, very truly, your Friend, 

Lowell Mason. 

In this letter, Mr. Mason speaks in terms of the 
greatest kindness of his co-laborers, who were all 
worthy of him — He mentions their peculiarities and 
characteristics with much discrimination, and partic- 

He thus sketches the character of Josiah Penfield, 
Dr. Coppee, Mr. Schenk, T. H. Condy, Ghas. Mclntyre, 
Rev. C. C. Jones, Jos* dimming, M. Coe, Geo. G. Fairies, 
and others. He closes his sketch of Mr. Penfield in 
these words: 

"Who that ever knew Penfield, could cease 
to love one, whose whole Christian life was 
so consistent, so pure, and so free from that 
terrible enemy to Christian growth and progress 
— selfishness? Penfield was one of the warmest- 
hearted, kindest, most forbearing Christian men 
I ever knew. He was a pattern of all that be- 
longs to Christian character. How my soul 
warms at his remembrance!" 
These notes and extracts are, I am sure, quite too 
extended for your crowded columns, but I scarcely know 
how I could have made them more brief, even if I had the time. 
With great respect, I am, very truly yours, 

B. Mallon. 

Meanwhile, though occupied for a portion of each v/eek-day with 
business duties, Mason devoted the evenings and such spare time as was 
his to the study and practice of music, in addition to his teaching — 
with the result that rumors of his talent soon caught the attention of 
various citizens. Influential ones among these invited him to give a 
demonstration of his ability, an opportunity he gladly accepted; and on 
the appointed evening in one of the city*s churches a considerable aud- 
ience was thoroughly delighted with his efforts, his remarks and his 
personality. Delight, however, gave way to amazement when, with his 
bass-viol supported on a chair, he sang the air and played the bass 
simultaneously. Such skill was quite unprecedented, such musical 
thaumaturgy never before heard of I 

From a Diary which he kept at the time (now before us as we write), 
from occasional references in local newspapers of the period ( The Col - 
umbian Museum and Savannah Gazette, and The Savannah Georgian ) > as well 
as from the letter just quoted, we are enabled to trace with a fair 
degree of accuracy the facts of his life and work in his new sur- 


Entries in the Diary, for instance, record that on 8 February, 1813, less 
than three weeks after his arrival at Savannah, he "Began Singing School at the 
building of Solomon's Lodge," — one of the oldest and historically most impor- 
tant of American Masonic fraternities; while we learn that through the kindly 
offices of the Rev. Dr. Kollock (to whose assistance reference is made in the 
above-given letter) the School opened with an enrolment of thirty subscribers, or 
pupils. The names of the pupils are mentioned in the Diary. Three days subse- 
quently states the next entry, he "Began to teach the orphans at the Female Asy- 
lum, Feb. 11." This beneficent institution, dating from 1801 and still flourish- 
ing, stands as an eloquent testimonial to the untiring zeal of humane-minded 
ladies, past and present, constituting its managerial boards. Originating in 1750, 
in common with the Union (or St. George's) Society, the Female Orphan Asylum has 
for two centuries faithfully served its noble purpose — the care and education 
of children, destitute and bereft of parents. 

But with the coming of summertime, Mason felt it wise to seek a change, since 

he was not as yet thoroughly acclimated j he accordingly took ship, July 3, for a 

f ourteen-days voyage down the coast to the port of St. Mary's, at the extreme 

southeast corner of the State. Here, explains the Diary, he remained for five 

weeks, aboard the boat; but upon receiving an invitation to stop with friends, 


Mr. and Mrs. Phineas Miller, at Dungeness House on Cumberland Island, he left the 
vessel for a month's visit under their hospitable roof. Restored in health he 
then returned to Savannah. 

1. Mrs. Miller, nee Catherine Littlefield (1756-1814), of New Shoreham, R. I., 
married (1774) Hathanael Greene (1742-1786), distinguished General of the Amer- 
ican Revolutionary Army, to whom John Fiske refers as "scarcely second to V.'ash- 
ington himself." Ten years after General Greene's death his widow married 
Phineas Miller, co-partner of Eli Whitney, inventor in 1795 of the cotton gin. 


The inherent tendencies of the young man now became crystallized; calm, reli- 
gious conviction possessed his soul as into his heart, and from it, there flowed 
the grace of God. With an unhesitating faith he consecrated his life to his Savi- 
our, ai we are told by his already-quoted letter to Mrs. — and also by an en- 
try in his Diary under date of October 20, 1814: n I have been looking over this 
book and reflecting upon my journey from Massachusetts to Georgia. I give up my- 
self to God, resting my soul on the merit of Jesus for salvation. receive me 
my blessed Saviour for in this is my hope, my only hope". 

Assiduously applying himself to music, he so progressed as to be appointed, in 
1815, organist and choir-director at Dr. Kollock's church, of which he had be- 
come a member almost immediately on his arrival at Savannah. He participated too, 
as we have seen, in the organization of the Savannah Sabbath School, assuming at 
once the superintendency thereof — indication of his early and lasting interest 
in children, for whom and through whom he was destined to impart happiness and 
enlightenment from first to last. An abiding influence of his experiences at this 
period, supporting and comforting him in times of stress and opposition, marked a 
nature, kindly yet commanding, with a simple, steadfast goodness; and perhaps even 
now his mind dwelt on the Rev. Dr. Philip Doddridge f s evangelical hymn, for which 
some fifteen years later (1850) he wrote his tune Ward , with its Scottish air: 

happy day, that fixed my choice 

On thee, my Saviour and my God! 
Well may this glowing heart rejoice, 

And tell its raptures all abroad. 

happy bond, that seals my vows 

To him who merits all my love J 
Let cheerful anthems fill his house, 

While to that sacred shrine I move. 

High heaven, that heard the solemn vow, 

That vow renewed shall daily hear, 
Till in life's latest hour I bow, 

And bless in death a bond so dear. 

Called to numerous posts of responsibility, Mason became more and more closely 


'.vliifl alii iio viaj iJtoommx jeornii? iooa<m 


affiliated with various interests in the life of the community — charitable, 
patriotic, educational, religious, musical — being ever ready to aid in a humani- 
tarian cause, to encourage the progress of his adopted city. 

It so happened that in 1817 there arrived in Savannah a well-trained German mu- 
sician, theorist and teacher, F. L. Abel (1794-1820), by name. Born at Ludwigs- 
lust, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Friedrich L(udwig?) Abel was the then-latest and 
gifted representative of an eminent musical family. The coming of this cultivated 
young music© in to Savannah proved to be a turn of good fortune for Mason who, be- 
ing accepted at once as a pupil, now pursued, under the most capable guidance he 
had thus far known, his studies in harmony and composition, employing as text-book 
Albrechtsberger's ftrundliche Answeisujig ZUH Cnntt?ft»1t,iQn. 

Elected, in 1818, one of the two Stewards of the Union Society — Savannah's 
most venerable charitable organization, active to-day in its continuous work of 
benevolence — Mason later served as its Secretary as well, an office he held so 

1. For above a century members of various branches of the Abel family had added 
distinction to the musical life of Germany and England, as the following data 
it>dicate : 

a. August Christian Andreas Abel (1769-1834), father of F. L. Abel and born at 
Brunswick, Germany, was a violinist of repute and an excellent musician. At 
the age of eighteen he became a member of the Mecklenburg-Schwerin orchestra, 
a post he held for thirty- four years. 

b. Leopold August Abel (1717-1794), grandfather of F. L. Abel, was born at 
Cothen. A fine violinist, pupil of Franz Benda, he played for several years 

in the Mecklenburg-Schwerin orchestra, later becoming court-conductor success- 
ively at Sondershausen, Schwedt and Schwerin. 

c. Karl Friedrich Abel (1725-1787), brother of Leopold August and great-uncle 
of F. L. Abel, born at Cothen, was trained at the Thomasschule at Leipzig by 
Johann Sebastian Bach. He won fame as a gambist. A member of the Dresden 
court-orchestra from 1746 to 1758, he formed in 1759 a close alliance with 
Johsnn Christa^Ln Bach, at London, where the two until 1782 directed a notable 
series of concerts. Karl Friedrich, exj>ert on various instruments, composed 
no less than^seventeen symphonies, string quartets, trios, sonatas, overtures, 
■aad operas j But he reached his greatest renown as a performer on his chosen 
instrument, the Viola di gamba, which from his time^nes been superseded by 
the violoncello, ^ 

d. Christain Ferdinand Abel (16-, 17-), great-grandfather of F. L. Abe, gained 
fame as gambist and cellist. It was for him that the violoncello suites by 
his friend, Johann Sebastian Bach, were written. 

sdA .J .** t t»rf8*^ **** J**^* 00 * 1 * ,fiAiDJ.a 
bus Jneabw »i •▼Jt*a*asB»iq9i bettla 
asa woe ,Lfcq«*l * 68 • ws0 * a k*^* 00 * ^ 

*-o^ avisos ,jio2^3sxn^*K> 


long as he remained in the South. 

In 1818 too he served the Independent Volunteer Battalion of Savannah as Ser- 
geant of one of its component companies, the Fencibles, as is explained in The 
Columbia Uaasm Sayenpah Gazette, 14 April, 1818, by the following official 


In conformity with Regimental orders, you are required to hold 
yourselves in readiness to march at a moment's warning. 

You are also notified to meet at the Exchange, on Thursday, 16th in- 
stant., at seven o'clock in the evening. 

By order of Capt. Hunter, 

L. Mason, Sergeant. 

To the Fencibles, succeeded though they were in 1830 by the Phoenix Riflemen, 
is to be traced the foundation of the present 63rd Georgia regiment of infantry. 

Dueing the same year, also, The Savannah Religious Tract Society and The Georgia 
Bible Society each found in Mason a welcome member and an enthusiastic worker, 
their meetings often being held at his home. 

On January 8, 1818, he appears as one of the founders , and also as Secretary, 
of the Savannah Missionary Society (its President being the Rev. Dr. Kollock) — 
the outcome of a meeting held in the Independent Presbyterian Church by a number 
of devout Savannahians . The purpose of the Society, in the words of its inaugura- 
tors, being to send missionaries "to such parts of Georgia as are destitute of the 
regular administrations of religion"; and to this they added, "We are afflicted 
at the situation of so many of the inhabitants of our state who are destitute of 
the ordinances of religion; and animated by a desire to concur with the numerous 
missionary societies that have been formed in our Northern states and in Europe, 
and thus to show that we sympathize with those who are perishing for lack of 

That Lowell Mason ardently subscribed to the furtherance of such aims, his entire 
life bears constant testimony. 

To The Columbia Museum and Savannah Gazette of March 22, 1819, Mason contribu- 
ted what we believe to have been the first of many Articles from his pen on MUSIC; 
and although inexpedient to transcribe the Article in ioto, one or more passages 
jnay not perhaps be amiss. For thus we gain an insight into the writer's attitude 
and thought regarding certain phases of music , toward his understanding of both 
the art and the science of music, — subjects with which he was to be identified 
throughout a long life, and concerning which it was given him to take a leading 
place in the education of the public. Nor should we forget that in 1819 music 
was but little understood in this country, nay, that it was rather frowned 

lo 110 


upon than valued, rather contemned than praised. 

"As an art", he maintains, "music depends upon 
the powers, abilities, and genius, of the writer; 
it cannot be limited, or restricted with any par- 
ticular rules. The genius, the feelings, and the 
improved taste of mankind, must regulate every 
good writer. Like the painter, the sculptor, the 
architect, and the poet, nature and propriety 
must direct the effusions of his mind. As a science, 
it is regulated by measure, harmony, cadence, 
accent, mode, etc. Science may invent good harmony, 
agreeable measure, flowing and easy cadence but 
genius only can give force and energy to music." 

He then goes on to consider "the essential parts or divisions of 

music, as consisting of melody, harmony, expression, and accent 
Let us see, for instance, what he states concerning the first of these: 

"Melody consists in placing a simple series of 
notes at such intervals in the musical scale, as 
to please the ear and captivate the heart. No 
rules can be prescribed for this part of music. 
It is the genuine feeling of the heart, regulated 
and directed by the ear and the understanding. Re- 
duce melody to certain rules, and it becomes a 
body without animation. Our beneficent Creator has 
implanted within us a certain aptitude to be pleased 
or displeased with particular sensible objects. 
This innate principle when matured by judgment, 
reason and experience, is our only guide in judging 
of the perfection or the imperfection of melody. 
The writer of melody may imitate nature; but the 
modulations must be the effusions of his own mind. 
The painter takes the proportions of his portrait 
from nature; but the expressions of the countenance 
are from his own mind. 

As all men have similar feelings, similar passions 
and similar propensities, that ^ich will be agree- 
able to any individual, when well informed, will 
be acceptable to every person, in proportion to the 
cultivation of the mind and the improvement of 
taste. Hence a standard for melody is formed from 
which no man of information will dare appeal. 

The effects of melody on the mind and feelings, 
are various and extensive. It soothes our sorrows, 
rouses our passions, excites our sympathy, calms 
our fears, and inspires us with devotion. 

If these observations on melody be correct, we 
infer that the perfection of music does not depend 
upon the number of parts; but upon the perfection 

3 ariJ- « lei-nip 

of the part or parts written. On this subject, 
unskilled writers have made many mistakes. Suppos- 
ing music imperfect unless consisting of several 
parts, they have added counterpoint, bases and 
seconds, to many pieces of music utterly incapable 
of receiving any such auxiliaries. 'Restless man 
knows no golden mean, but will be attempting inno- 
vations without end'! When any particular passion is 
to be excited, great musical writers have uniformly 
attempted it by a simple air. Here the writer has 
full latitude for using every appropriate expression. 
/^y" , Melody reaches the heart; and it is by this chiefly 

that a sentiment is enforced, or a passion soothed/*— c 

As examples of simple melody, with a light accom- 
paniment, we will mention that inimitable air of Handel, 
in his Oratorio of Sampson, 'Return, God of Hosts, 
return*; likewise the air 'Total Eclipse' No sun, 
no moon', in the same Oratorio. Such is the melody, 
such the expression of these airs, that even the 
author could not hear them performed without tears. 
They penetrate the deepest recesses of our hearts, 
nor can we hear them without feeling a sympathetic 
emotion. Add another part, and you will divide the 
attention; and as you divide the attention among dif- 
ferent parts, you diminish the effect. 

The great effects of music among the ancients, as 
related by their writers, are not altogether fabulous. 
Their music consisted of those simple airs which steal 
imperceptibly on the mind. If the Son of Jesse could 
control the ragings of his sovereign by the simple 
inflections of his harp, why might not Orpheus perform 
equal wonders in Greece? Even in our days, the full 
choir is frequently neglected, to hear the simple 
modulations of an itinerant bard." 

Turning again to the source from -which the above is quoted — 
The Columbia Museum and Savannah Gazette — we find further informa- 
tion as to Mason's Savannah interests; for in its issue of 18 Novembe 
1819, appeared the following announcement: 

Sacred Music. 

A school for the instruction of this delightful and 
useful accomplishment will commence at Chatham Academy 
under the direction of Mr. L. Mason, on Tuesday evening 
next, 23rd inst. Particular attention will be paid to 
the selection of the best music and to taste and manner 




of performance. The terms will be five dollars 
per quarter, payable in advance. School to be 
open two evenings in a week, viz: Tuesday and 
Friday. Tickets of admission may be had of me, 
at the Academy. 

W. T. Williams, 

Tr. Chatham Academy. 

From The Savannah Georgian , February 7, 1825, we learn that for a num- 
ber of years iason held the office of Secretary of the Savannah Library So- 
ciety. But here his connection partook of a threefold nature, for he was at 
once Secretary, Treasurer, and Librarian. Again, in the issue of April 15, 
1823, the same paper records that Ilason was at the time appointed a "Member 
of the Board of Health of the City of Savannah." 

The Savannah Sabbath School, established in the winter of 1815, was, as 
we have seen, for a period of several years the city's only organization of 
the kind. According to its Constitution the School was "perfectly catholic, 
embracing no particulat religious sentiments;" and it numbered among its 
teachers persons of different religious communions. As originally planned 
it provided the means whereby the ignorant might receive instruction in 
the first elements of learning, as well as in fundamental religious prin- 
ciples. The increase in the School's number of pupils 

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-' 3 x(aaaav»?. ait lo *° wMftPi *^ ki* d fPWN aa * 6 ^° lip 

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,&X XXtt.A 1c atrscx &ti& al ^axs^. • ac liziCtZ. bat iimuiil K ^xAtett>s»c. eoao 
?edae4f R a oetcloqqfc eoxi arft to caw oca ft taxi* soTOoeTT wiaq anas sr.'t t 5P8X 

n , tf mi qf fi H f m P. I© X^IO 6iU lo d*Ia9ii lo fciaoS dai lo 

i < saw t &X3X lo i&^niv on* ax I>i>nai. Coatee ^XoodoC /Itau'iJaH I'/uiasveE «dT 
lo ncliisJbx&:<io rjiio •♦xtfto oat e-ra^ Inie^a lo box-icq js *ol t trees erail aw 
f oxXox*flO ^Xtoalteq" aae XoorioS sat rfoxiutx*e/*o0 atl at jjai^ioooA .oata an* 
at - . /iouvs bcrjdsaui iJt hoe tt ?:*fcie3rXtn$.'5 eiiox^xl©*! t£ix/oxtaaq orr gxtxoeiuaie 
ositrtclq T&IXaaxsi*ic «A .erjoxxuaMoo ex/o/v.Xa'i ineaeVxxc. to aaoea^q aoexloact 
ax aoxtfvrct'iiix ^vJtoooT ti§xA ^afiongx eiit x^®* i ^ w anas'* eat JbeiLiXTO'jq tx 
-a'tVi Bt/ox^xXei l&faomBhaul ax aa Hew aa ,gatnaael lo »trreseXa jflill eat 

a£iqi/q lo I9«itu-.i s'Xooilofi ait ox eae^-isax eoT .aelqxo 



from seven at the outset to over two hundred and fifty in a comparatively 
short time, bespeaks not only the eagerness with which the city's youth 
sought enlightenment, but deeper still the awakening of the authorities 
to the importance of making provision for public instruction. Thus the 
Savannah Sabbath School paved the way for the inauguration, in 1816, of 
the Savannah Free School, so-called, the first of the city's institutions 
maintained at public expense for the formal education of children. With 
the opening of the Free School, however, the curriculum of the Sabbath 
School underwent a change, attention from that time on being given more 
especially to religious instruction. This is made clear from a communi- 
cation published in The Columbia Museum and Savannah Gazette , November 20, 
1817, portions of which we quote: 

The superintendent and teachers of the Savan- 
nah Sabbath School would again call the attention 
of the community to this institution. It is not 
one of those visionary plans, the advantages of 
which are shown only in idle speculation or by a 
plausible theory. It has stood the test of experi- 
ence. * * * We are confident that when 
the nature and effect of the institution are ex- 
amined, it will excite a warm interest in the bosom 
of every lover of his country, of every friend of 
the poor, of every servant of God. 

Its attention is chiefly though not exclusively 
directed to the rising generation, the hope of the 
church and the state. It was originally intended 
principally for the totally ignorant, those who had 
not opportunity nor means of otherwise acquiring the 
first elements of learning. For these its doors are 
yet open, and to them instruction is gratuitously 
given. But since the establishment ^f a free school 
in our city, the teachers of the Sabath School devote 
their time more exclusively to the religious instruct- 
ion of those under their care. In this religious in- 
struction they have no sectarian views. The society 
by which the school is patronized, as well as its 
teachers, are of various denominations, and^the aim 
only to inculcate "the common Christianity 

They entreat the parents and guardians of this city, 
whatever may be their circumstances in life, or their 
religious persuasion, to concur with them in the 



furtherance of a scheme of benevolence which 
they feel to be disinterested, and which they 
know to be enlightened. For this purpose they 
request them to send their children and wards; 
and occasionally to visit the school, that they 
may there personally mark its advantages and 
animate both teachers and scholars. For these 
visits they will be recompensed, if we may judge 
by our own experience, by the effect produced on 
our own religious feelings. 

They would remind the people of Savannah that 
while it is their joy to instruct the desolate 
orphan and "the needy that hath no helper", the 
school is established for all classes -- the rich 
as well as the poor. The attendance of the children 
of the more affluent is of much importance to the 
school not only as it respects their own improve- 
ment, but as a means to stimulate and encourage 
those whom providence has denied the blessings which 
they enjoy. 

The school is still held in the Academy, at the 
hours of 9 and 12 o'clock, every Lord's Day. A sepa- 
rate apartment is provided for male adults. 

The superintendent and teachers, encouraged by the 
past and grateful for the kindness of providence to 
the institution are determined to continue their exer- 
tions -- satisfied if they are made the humble instru- 
ments of leading the young to the indulgence of love 
and thankfulness to the Lord and Sabbath. 

In behalf of their teachers. 

L. Mason, Superintendent. 

Almost immediately ujjon his arrival at oavannah, in 1811, iiason had 

been appointed musical instructor, as already noted, at the female Orphan 

Asylum — an institution which held his interest throughout his l±£e in the 


South. T'ith a view to its welfare he arranged, with the assistance of his , 
choir at the Independent Presbyterian Church, an "Oratorio Benefit Concert"." 
This took place on the evening of May 81, 1884. The program, comprising works 
by various composers, was of notable and unusual significance since among 
the names it bore v.ere those of foozart and Haydn. American ears of the early 
nineteenth century were mostly . whglly unfamiliar with music of the classics — 
and thus the very plan of the program bespoke the characteristic, educational 
spirit of its deviser. 

The large audience in attendance — attracted no doubt by the con- 
cert's purpose as well as by its novelty — responded, however, to a chorus 
from The Creation as to a duet by Mozart, with spontaneous and marked enthu- 
siasm. Both the organist-director and the singers of his choir acknowledged 
the plaudits with hearty appreciation; while to the mind of ti.e former this 
favorable reaction of the audience to the appeal of m< ster-music came with a 
depth of meaning — as a practical illustration in justification of his 
faith in the potential musical capacity of the public in general. The con- 
cert's entire proceeds, moreover, as likewise the receipts of two similar 
subsequent concerts of , : ,ay 26 and !«ay 30, 1826, being presented to the 
Asylum, proved of substantial assistance in its financial requirements. 

A few months later it devolved upon Lowell I.'ason, as Secretary 
of the Union Society — an institution which maintains to this day the 
Bg thesda Home for Orphan Boys, the oldest continuous orphanage in America, 
founded in 1758 by the Rev. George Khitefield — to issue in the Savannah 
Georgian . Karen 19, 1825, the following call: 

The Members of the Union Society are requested 
to unite in the Procession, to be formed at the East- 
ern extremity of the Bay, to receive and escort General 
Lafayette on his arrival in this city. 

By order of the President. 

L. Mason, Secretary. 

In making the tour of this country in 1824 and 1825, General 

Lafayette honored guest of the nation which nearly fifty years previously 

he had magnanimously, gallantly abetted in the winning of its independence — 


)Bti erf vJ3uojfcve*tc 


was everywhere greeted and hailed with enthusiasm, with an homage 
of warmth on the part of officials and townsfolk alike, with spont- 
aneous expressions of respect, admiration, and love. 

On his arrival at the tjity of Savannah, March 19, 1825, ringing 
salutes were fired, the French and American flags waved in the breeze 
from the steeple of the Exchange, strains of the Marseillaise Hymn and 
of favorite American airs welcomed the coming of the hero; animation 
sparkled in the eyes of all as in response to cheers raised by the citi- 
zens, Lafayette graciously returned his acknowledgments. Seated beside 
Governor Troup in a landau drawn by superb grey horses, the honored 
guest formed a part of a stately procession which proceeded through the 
principal avenues and streets to Oglethorpe Square, Here, as along the 
route, he was hailed by all with unbounded enthusiasm, the fair sex wav- 


ing their handkerchiefs in salute, as the General bowed his head in 
heart- felt recognition. 

The procession, which required above an hour in passing a giyen 
spot, comprised the leading men of State and City; Revolutionary Vet- 
erans; the Georgia Volunteers; Divisions of the Hussars and Troops of 
Cavalry; the Savannah Juvenile Guards; Officers of the Army and the 
Navy; the Reverend Clergy; the Judges; Lafayette's son and his friend, 
M. Le Vasseur; Members of important Societies — the Union, St. Andrew's 
Hibernian, Agricultural — in ranks of eight; and Citizens likewise; 
the blue- jackets, who, having rowed the boats in which the General and 
his staff had been conveyed ashore from their vessel, now accompanied 
the carriage in which the distinguished guest was seated. 

It was a gala occasion; thanksgiving and joy filled the air, and 
every heart beat with patriotism. But how different the scene, with 
its spirit of concord, its jubilation, and prosperity, from that of 


arij" vtf bet 

fix be. 

W — 



half a century before, frightful and inhuman, with contention, suffer- 
ing, and devastation of war at every turn! 

As a representative of the Union Society Mason deeply felt the ex - 
off icio honor of taking in his own the hand of the illustrious visitor. 
What wonder if his thoughts momentarily reverted to a day in his boy- 
hood at Medfield, to the Rev. Dr. Prentiss and his stirring account of 
the "hero of two continents'* I n 

Little did the vast assemblage foresee at the time that but nine 
years later the nation would be plunged into grief at the news of 
Lafayette's death; and little did Mason realize, as he stood in the 
presence of the intrepid friend of human liberty, that before a decade £/ 
had run its course he was to compose a Requiem to be sung at the Com- 


memoration Ceremony "in Faneuil Hall, Boston, on the occasion of the 
delivery of an Eulogy on the character of Lafayette, by Edward Everett, 


September 6, 1834*.' 8 

Although keenly interested in the Savannah of his time, Mason read 
with enthusiasm of its early history as well; of General Oglethorpe, its 
founder, and his noblemen- companions, and of their prime motive based 
"upon charity alone";" of the purposes likewise, so similar to his own, 
of other men memorable in that history. Here, John Wesley in 1736 had 
compiled his first collection of Psalms and Hymns, and gathering about 
him the children of Christ Church parish had taught them "to recite 
their catechism, instructing them still further in the Bible, endeavor- 

2 J' 

ing to fix the truth in their understandings as well as their memories . ' 

1. The text of the Requiem, having been written for the occasion, 

was by the poet Grenville Mellen (1799-1841) , ^author of "Sad Tales 
and Glad Tales" (1829); "The Martyr's Triumph V "Buried Valley, and 
other Poems" (1833); "The Passions" (1836); etc., etc. 

2. -S^e Historic and Picturesque Savannah , by Adelaide Wilson. 

fysLtUxMy fc^X, 88 

fif ty years was this before Robert Raikes inaugurated in England his system of 

Sunday School instruction, bringing cleanliness and self-respect to countless 

children and families throughout the land who previously had known only filth 

and disreputable conduct. Here, too, for some time had lived and worked Charles 

Wesley, several of whose religious lyrics Mason in after years was to supplement 

with musical settings, and in whose memory was named Mason's hymn-tune Wesley , 

composed in 1850 for Thomas Hastings' hymn, dating from the same year, Hail to 


the brightness of Zion' s glad morning . And hither had come that prodigious power 

S ' 

of the pulpit, George Whitefield, whose "voice flowed on"," according to popular 

legend, "until the candle which he held in his hand burned away and went out in 

its socket". "By singular coincidence, it may be added, the voyage of the galley 
Ann , bringing General Oglethorpe and his carefully selected company of emi- 
grants from Gravesend to Rebellion Roads in 1752, is said to have required fifty 
five days — the exact number of days of Mason's own journey to Savannah from 

Blessed with a splendid physique Meson was enabled to work unsparingly, with 
a capacity for application that knew no bounds. And although his connection with 
the various organizations enumerated above — what with their business meetings, 
recording of minutes, administrative responsibilities and devising of progres- 
sive ways and means — demanded considerable time and thought, he nevertheless 
diligently pursuea his several musical activities; and in these he made manifest 
progress . 

1. Charles Wesley wrote, it is said, 6000 or more hymns, among them Jesus , Lover, 
of my soul , of which Henry Ward Beecher once declared: "I would rather have 
written thatihymn of Wesley's than to have the fame of all the Kings that ever 
sat on earth'V'For the hymn Lowell Mason composed his setting Whitman , "which 
for general congregational use TT 7^^serves Theron Brown in The Story of Hymns 
and Tunes , "has wedded itself to the hymn perhaps closer than any other^ 

2. Of interest it is to note that the metre of Hastings' hymn is the same as tha 
first into^rdatced into hymnody (1811) by Bishop Reginald Heber's Brightest and 
best of the sons of the morning , also sung to Mason's Wesley . 

Stephen's History of Methodism . 



tudM* 3EZZ 


Having profited by his association with Abel, as also through in- 
dependent study, Mason now devoted every available opportunity to the 
practice of expressing his feelings by means of musical notation; and in 
this he was furthered through correspondence with one S« P. Taylor, a 
musician of experience and the organist now and again during its first 

lustrum of the Handel and Haydn Society (Boston), whose welcome suggest- 
ions were both stimulating and instructive, and especially so in reply 
to points raised relating to Thorough-bass. 

Realizing the deplorable condition of the then current "sacred 

music", "he was now prepared to push on toward practical reform, toward 
enlightening popular musical understanding, and toward providing for the 
church a befitting type of music. 

And herein lay the first important cause to which he rendered signi- 
ficant service. Not to be overlooked or undervalued, it is true, is the 
influence exerted by certain other men, particularly that of Thomas 
Hastings, Mason's senior by a few years; but "the scope of Hastings* use- 
fulness was limited as W.S. B. Mat'thews explains in his A Hundred Years 
of Music in America , '"by his extreme views regarding the subordination 
of the objects of music to the purposes of religious devotion. He made 

1. Thomas Hastings (1784-1872), prolific composer of psalm, and hymn 
tunes; author of many hymns, organizer of church choirs, and teacher 
of psalmody; author also of History of Forty Choirs , and Dissertation 
on Musical Taste , as well as many Articles on musical subjects. 
Hastings is best known to-day perhaps as the composer of the tune 
Toplady (1830), universally sung to the hymn Rock of Ages , cleft for me , 
by Augustus Montagu Toplady (1740-1773. So closely associated is the 
tune with this hymn that it is often itself called Rock of Ages ; and, 
as has been said, "People have learned — thanks to Dr. Hastings — 
'Rock of Ages' by sound?. 55 




the error of supposing the highest and broadest function of music to be 
that of exemplifying gospel teachings, rather than its real mission of 
beautifying and elevating religion, in common with every other civiliz- 
ing influence. As he himself stated, he was 'not willing to acknowledge 
excellence in any music of this kind | oratorio j any further than it can 

be made to subserve the great ends of religious edif ication* The earn- 
estness and sincerity of a pious nature cut short his true appreciation 
of the beauty of the art. In short, he failed to realize that music, the 
highest language of the emotions, can not be cut down to the pattern of 
any creed or dogma, but lives to brighten and beautify every aspect, 
every instinct, every ambition and every aspiration and sentiment of the 
nobler elements of human life. — — Dr. Lowell Mason, who entered 
the sphere of musical activity almost contemporaneously with Hastings, 
was a man of broader mind. His ideas of art were not restricted by the 
limitations which characterized the activity of Hastings. His musical 
ambition was unfettered by the conventional restrictions -which bounded 
and defined the labor of the latter. He introduced himself into musical 
life v/ith a distinct and well-def ined goal, and he labored with zeal and 
intelligence until he had seen effected a complete revolution in the 
character and objects of all musical activity in America . 5 

But while realizing the want of a suitable musical expression in 
religious service, Mason found none ready to hand. As a consequence, he 
decided to prepare, for the use of his choir and classes, a manuscript 
collection of church tunes in comformity v/ith his own ideas and taste. 
Adopting the plan already employed by earlier compilers, and well exem- 



plified in a then recent English publication entitled Sacred Melodies 
(in six volumes, the first appearing in 1812, the balance in subsequent 
years), by William Gardiner (1770-1853), author and musician, namely the 
plan of selecting melodies from the works of various composers, and util- 
izing these as the treble, or soprano, of harmonizations for three and 
for four voices, Llason gathered together in course of time a considerable 

This material comprised t < o hundred and seventy-one musical units 
in all: two hundred and fifty- four psalm, and hymn, tunes, twelve anthems, 
four canons, one recitative. Of the psalm, and hymn, tunes, five were 
original with Dr, G. K. Jackson, one with F. L. Abel, and five with 
Mason (Bath, 1819; Effingham, 1819; Islington, 1820; Watson's, 1820; 
Castle-Street, 1821). Of the twelve anthems, one was by Dr. Jackson; 
of the canons, the Doctor contributed two. The recitative, composed by 
William Gardiner, originally appeared in his "assembled" oratorio Judah . 
The remaining psalm and hymn tunes, two hundred and forty-three in number, 
are Mason 1 s adaptations and arrangements, the airs of which he supplied with 
his own figured bass, or harmonization, fitting each tune in its entirety 
to carefully chosen stanzas appropriate to the purpose. It was with es- 

1. Of Sacred Melodies its Author remarks, in the Preface to his oratorio 
of Judah, that the "important part assigned to Music in the services 
of the Roman Catholic Church is well known, and a large proportion of 
the compositions of the great Masters of the art were designed for this 
purpose. These Compositions, though distinguished by the same marks 
of genius as appear in their other works, have for the most part re- 
mained unknown in this country Q^nglandj : and it was from a desire to 
rescue them from this unmerited neglect^.that the Author undertook 
the arrangement of the Sacred Melodies . ' 

But the plan of Sacred Melodies is not dissimilar from that adopted 
three hundred years previously by Martin Luther (1483-1546) and his 
associates, whose twofold musical procedure comprehended not only the 
reconstruction of Roman Church music, but also the refashioning of 
well-known popular tunes for use in divine worship ~ a procedure 
carried to its apogee, moreover, in the Choral-Preludes, Masses, and 
other works of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). 


pecial delight that he selected these airs (including thirty- three in 


Gardiner's book, which, however, he re- harmonized) from the vocal and 
instrumental works of above one hundred different composers; and among 
his early hymn and psalm tunes produced in this manner, illustrative 
as they are of the catholicity of his selection, the folio-wing, bearing 
associative names, may be mentioned: Savannah (1820), the harmonization 
of a melody by I.J. Pleyel (1757-1831), a favorite pupil of Haydn, set 
to stanzas of Alexander Pope beginning "From Jesse's root, behold a 
branch arise ;" Cumberland (1820), with its air from the English Henry 
Carey (c. 1690-1743), of "Sally in our Alley" feme, for a text from 


Psalm CIII, "My soul, inspir'd with sacred love ;" Dungjmess (1821), based 

on a Mozartian subject and set to Isaac V.'atts's "My God, the steps of 

f- <<»t) 4 
pious men, Are order'd by thy will*; and Me ston on a theme from 

1 A 
Beethoven with the verses: 

. ^ "Now night in silent grandeur reigns, 

l bt<te_fi f****. AM holds the slurab'ring world in chains; 

jUXju krvujij Pale from the cloud the moon- beam steals, 

And half creation's face reveals^." 

For additional details regarding Mason's material let us turn to the 

explanatory Preface of The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of 

Church Music (as the material came to be called); and in doing so it were 

well to bear in mind the original intent of the founders of the Handel 

and Haydn Society, as set forth in its Charter, February 9, 1816: 

The Handel and Haydn Society, having been instituted 
for the purpose of improving the style of Church Music, 
have felt it their duty to keep two objects continually 
in view; the first to acquire and diffuse that style and 

1. "One of the writer's cherished autographs , wrote Alexander W. Thayer 
in his Article previously referred to, "is a leaf from Mr. Mason's 
original MS. containing the violoncello solo in Beethoven's Trio, 
Opus 11, beautifully adapted to a text beginning 'Now night in silent 
grand eui 

ir reigns^. 


taste in performance without which even the most 
exquisite compositions lose their effect and in- 
fluence; the second, v/hat was indeed a necessary pre- 
requisite, to furnish the public with a selection of 
such compositions, both of ancient and modern authors, 
as are considered most excellent, and at the same time 
most useful. 

T .7ith regard to the first of these objects, they re- 
flect with great pleasure upon the success which has at- 
tended their efforts. A visible improvement has taken 
place in the style of singing, and consequently in the 
taste of the community. Not only the practice but 
the science and theory of music, have been the objects 
of great attention; the increase of patronage has been 
commensurate with the increase of knowledge and fond- 
ness for the art: and the various collections of 
psalmody, and the number of editions to which some of 
them have passed, are sure and certain indications of 
increasing refinement in the public taste. 

These favorable appearances have animated the exertions 
of the Society with regard to what they have mentioned 
as the second object of their attention; and they have 
for some time been engaged with much labour, and at con- 
siderable expense, in collecting materials for the pre- 
sent work. 

It is obvious that no collection of Sacred Music, can 
be so extensively useful in this country, as one of 
psalmody. The only question which can arise therefore, 
is with respect to the peculiar advantages to be derived 
from that which is now presented to the public. 

The Handel and Haydn Society have certainly no dis- 
position to detract from the merits of the respectable 
collections which are now in use; and they wish to avoid 
any appearance of depreciating the efforts of those whom 
they consider as fellow-labourers for the promotion of 
a common benefit. But, while they give that praise 
which is justly due to these laudable exertions, and 
acknowledge that much has been done, they are confident 
that all scientific and disinterested persons will agree 
with them that much still remains undone. Many respect- 
able teachers of music in various parts of our country 
have frequently requested the Society to publish a new 
collection, and the advantages they enjoy for this pur- 
pose have seemed to them to render a compliance with this 
request an act of duty. 

Their combination as a Society, and their local situa- 
tion, have given them an extensive and easy access to the 
fountains of Music in Europe, and have enabled them to 
cultivate with advantage an intercourse with gentlemen 
of taste and science in our own country. 

****** * 

While there has been in our country a great im- 
provement in the taste for good melody, there has 
not been a correspondent attention to good harmony. 
To remedy this defect has b - en the special object 
of the Society in the present • ork. 

Many of the oldest and best psalm tunes, as they 
were originally composed, were simple melodies; and 
as the practice of singing metre psalms in public 
•worship was only allowed, not enjoined in England, and 
was confined to the parish churches, it was not much 
attended to by the principal masters, who were chiefly 
engaged in the composition of Cathedral Music. When 
therefore the other parts were added to these simple 
melodies, metre psalmody being considered of minor im- 
portance, the harmonies were mostly added by inferior 
composers. And even when the harmonies were original 
parts of the composition, a beautiful air might be com- 
posed without any of that science which was necessary 
to direct with propriety the inferior movements. 

Of late years however a great change has taken place 
in public sentiment with regard to the importance of 
psalmody, and this has of course called the attention 
of the most eminent masters in England to the subject. 
Several of them have been recently employed in harmon- 
izing anew many of the old standard airs, and also in 
selecting and adapting movements from the works of 
Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and other great masters, 
whose mighty talents have been displayed and acknowledged 
throughout Europe. 

These works are among the materials to which the Handel 
and Haydn Society have had access, and they have exercised 
their best judgment in making such selections from them 
as would most enrich the present work. They consider 
themselves as peculiarly fortunate in having had, for the 
accomplishment of their purpose, the assistance of Mr. 
Lowell Mason, one of their members now resident in 
Savannah, whose taste and science have well fitted him 
for the employment, and whose zeal for the improvement 
of Church Music, has led him to undertake an important 
part of the labour in selecting, arranging and harmoniz- 
ing the several compositions. But what has most contrib- 
uted to the confidence with which they offer the present 
collection to the public, the vihole work has been finally 
and most carefully revised by Dr. G. K. Jackson. The 
obligations which the Society owe to that gentleman for 
his gratuitous and unwearied labours, they have endeav- 
oured in some measure to express, by prefixing his name 
to their work. 

The Society are fully aware of the cautious delicacy 
■with which variations should be admitted into tunes that 
by long use have become familiar, and by the power of 
association with holy purposes have been in some measure 



sanctified. They have b en careful, therefore, 
to retain in general the airs of the several tunes 
unaltered; but as the longest usage cannot reconcile 
science and correct taste with false harmony, it has 
been found indispensably necessary to introduce 
changes into the accompanying parts. The leading 
part, however, being unaltered the change will not be 
such as to shock even the most accustomed ear; while 
the increased richness of the harmony cannot fail to 
increase the delight of every lover of Sacred Music. 

It is obvious that these improvements will create an 
additional interest in psalmody, both in schools and 
societies, and in congregations for public worship. If 
the inferior parts are tame and spiritless, there will 
be a reluctance in the scholars or members of societies, 
to take them. The consequence must be that very un- 
suitable voices will sing upon the principal part, and 
thus materially injure the effect of the whole. The 
same remark is applicable to congregations for public 
worship. With regard to private worship, the improve- 
ments in harmony v/hich have now been introduced will 
operate as an incitement to family devotion, ■/.'here 
there are three or four voices to be found in the same 
family, capable of sustaining the different parts, a 
much more powerful effect will be produced by a noble 
and expressive harmony, than if all should be confined 
to the Air alone. 

The Society are far from thinking, that with all their 
care and advantages, they have produced a perfect work. 
Imperfection is the characteristic of every human effort; 
and works of this nature especially will approach the 
ideal standard, only by a slow and gradual approximation. 
They invite therefore the critical examination of all 
lovers of music, and scientific musicians, that even the 
most trivial errors may be rectified, and another edition, 
should another be called for, be rendered still more 
worthy of the public patronage. 

On the page following the Preface two letters are reproduced, 
addressed to the Trustees of The Handel and Haydn Society — one from 
Dr. Jackson, one from F. L. Abel: 

I have been highly gratified in the examina- 
tion of the manuscript of the "Handel and Haydn Collection 
of Church Music." The selection of tunes is judicious — 
it contains all the old approved English melodies, that 
have long been in use in the church, together with many 


fine compositions from modern European authors. 
The whole are harmonized with great accuracy, taste 
and judgment, according to the acknowledged principles 
of musical science — while a simplicity has been 
observed which renders their performance easy. I con- 
sider the book as a valuable acquisition to the church, 
as well as to every lover of devotional music. It is 
much the best book of the kind I have seen published in 
this country, and I do not hesitate to give it my most 
decided approbation. 

Very respectfully, Gentlemen, 
Your obedient servant, 
G. K. Jackson. 

Having critically examined the manuscript copy of 
"The Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church 
Music", I feel a pleasure in saying that the selection 
of tunes is not only judiciously made, but the parts are 
properly arranged — the Base is correctly figured, and 
in no instance are the laws of counterpoint and Thorough 
Base violated, as is the case in most American Musical 

To all the lovers of sacred music, I cheerfully re- 
commend it as a work in which taste, science and judgment 
are happily combined. 

F.L. Abel, 

Professor of Music. 

There then follows a page under the caption "Explanation of Musi- 
cal Terms'^ this in turn leads to a section devoted to the "Introduction 
to the Art of Singing''," and this to "Lessons for the exercise of the 

But, as in giving the above description we have gone somewhat ahead 
of our story, let us now retrace our steps to the date of Mason's com- 
pletion of his material — material "originally selected, harmonizea and 
arranged by myself," as he called upon to explain in a letter to the editor 
of the Boston Evening Gazette , April 26, 1834, by way of reply to an attack 
made upon him by a contemporary and printed in the April 12 issue of the 
same newspaper. 

Having in the course of time accumulated an extensive variety of 
church music, the thought of publication arose, with the view of wider 
serviceability. As no printing-house adequately equipped for the under- 
taking existed in the South, however, I.Iason in the autumn 

orltuja xtBSQOiwS meboflt moi . 3tiox 




of 1821 journeyed to Boston. Here his quest appeared hopeless. Pub- 
lishers were chary. None seemed willing to embark in the project, 
notwithstanding the fact that the compiler sought no interest in the 
copyright — merely sufficient copies of the book to supply his Savannah 
choir. Information regarding the admirable singing of this choir, by the 
bye, had already reached Boston, as elsewhere, and it as well as its 
leader was becoming famous. 

Favorable reports of Mason's ability and progress had been carried 
to the North by a Mr. ¥.M» Goodrich, builder of pipe-organs; also by one 
Colonel Newhall, a singing-master, both having noted on a recent visit 
to Savannah the young chorister's musicianship as well as the directness 
of his manner. 

Now it so happened that while in Boston seeking a publisher, Mason 
had been elected to membership in the Handel and Haydn Society, then in 
its sixth year, and already highly regarded in New England through its per- 
formances of oratorio, particularly The Messiah and The Creation . Refer- 


ring to the incident^in that portion of the Society's history written by 
him, Charles C. Perkins, for years the Society's President, narrates the 


"At a meeting held on Sept. 18,. Lowell Mason, 
who was to play an important parx in the history 
of the Society, was elected an honorary member; 
but as he preferred to take an active part, he 
declined to accept, and joined the Society as a 
regular member in the month of October." 

1. History of the Handel and Haydn Society , of Boston . Massachusetts . From 
'the foundation of the Society through its seventy-fifth season ; 1815 - 
1890. Chapters 1-111 by Charles C. Perkins. Chapters 1V-XV by John S. 
Dwight. Boston: Alfred Mudge & Son, Printers. 1885-1893. 

Charles Callahan Perkins (1835-86), first American to be elected to mem- 
bership in the French Academy, was the author of Tuscan Sculptors . 1864; 
Italian Sculptors , 1877; Raphael and Michael Angelo , A Critical Essay , 
1878; and he was at work, when stopped by his tragic death, on The Cyclo- 
pedia f American Art . In 1856 he presented to the Boston Music Hall the 
imposing Thomas Crawford statue of Beethoven (now in the building of the 
New England Conservatory of Music). 

John Sullivan Dwight (1813-93), American music critic and editor was 
born in Boston. Of the Harvard class of 1832, he was one of the organi- 
zers in 1837, and for some years the president, of the Harvard Musical 
Association. Though ordained as a Unitarian minister, he later joined the 
Brook Farm Community and served there as the musical editor of the Har- 
binger . He is best remembered today as the founder of Dwight ' s Journal 
of Music, which he continuously edited until it ceased to exist in 1881. 

• 1 A UI2 <J 


This membership he retained so long as he lived. 

With printers still inflexible, Mason, about to return to Savannah, 
was introduced by Colonel Newhall to Dr. G. K. Jackson (1745-1823), then 
organist of the Handel and Haydn Society, an English musician thoroughly 
grounded in the tenets of the solid English school, and a leading musical 
authority in America. The Doctor expressed a desire to examine Mason's 
manuscript, inquiring of the young man what he intended to do with it. 

"Take it home with me , was the reply. 
But tli is was not to be. Dr. Jackson, highly pleased with the work, 
obtained permission to confer with the Society* s Directors regarding it, 
with the outcome that negotiations were entered into between the Society 
and Mason for its publication. 

As Alexander Thayer points out (op. cit.) "the population of Boston 
was then under 45,000 and the people in the neighboring towns, within con- 
cert-going distance, were less than two -thirds that number. The Society 
was necessarily small, and though established in the only city in the 
United States in which it could have lived, its income was limited, and 
the question pressed, whether it would be prudent to assume the risk of 
the undertaking. It was at length decided in favor of the (then) bold 
course. It was agreed that if Dr. G. K. Jackson - - should be 

able, after a complete and thorough examination, to give a certificate 
of his full approval of the work, the Society would print and publish it 
as its own work, and would assume all costs and divide any profits with 
the compiler •" 

In accordance with this condition, the Doctor proceeded. He made 
divers suggestions; and, with a thought not perhaps wholly altruistic, 
he added several of his own compositions. Having done the which he 
forthwith wrote the above- quoted letter, under date of October 5, 1821. 




This letter-certificate of the Doctor's, an abracadabra in its 
effect, led to a contract five ays later between Mason and the Society. 
By the terms of the contract the two interested parties became joint part- 
ners in the enterprise, it being mutually agreed that the work's title 
should be The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music . 

Every effort was made to give the impression that responsibility 

for the book rested with the Society; Mason not only acquiescing in this, 

but urging it, as an excerpt from one of his letters avo w oi 
A A 

"I was then a bank officer in Savannah", he writes, "and 
I did not wish to be known as a musical man, as I hs.d not 
the least thought of ever making music a profession. The 
clause in the contract which gave the Society the right 
to dispose of and sell the property was inserted at my 
suggestion, because I had more confidence in Mr, Winchester 
[Amasa Winchester, President at the time of the Society] 
for this purpose than myself, and, besides, my residence 
in Savannah rendered it proper and even necessaryTT*^ - " 

As stipulated in the contract the Society was to retain the "super- 
intendence of the publishing of all editions, and the right to dispose 
of them for such sums as they may think proper, but not to dispose of the 

copyright without Mason's consent "V* 

The book appeared late in the year 1321, bearing the copyright 


date, 1622. "Its success"?' writes Theodore F. Stward (op. cit.), "was im- 
mediate ana unprecedented. Tne first edition was exhausted before the end of 

the first year, and successive editions followed each other closely to the 


number of twenty-two. Its value to the Society was incalculable . It brought 
to itj^and likewise to its compiler] an income amounting in the aggregate to 
more than ilO,000. This enabled the organization to lay foundations so deep 
and broad that, unlike similar organizations in American cities, which usu- 
ally have a brief, uncertain x-istory, the Hanael and iiaydn Society has re- 
nit ined one 

i; It was not until the ninth edition v.e.s published (1850) that the imprint 
"Edited by Lowell Mason" appeared on the Collection's title page. 

ti .hiss x jn£ ,T i*xo 


of the permanent institutions of Boston. But this result was of small 
importance in comparison with the influence exerted by the book on the 
musical taste of the country at large. Mason returned to his bank and 
his choir at Savannah, #iile the book continued its work of usefulness. 
It took possession of churches, singing- classes, and homes, purifying 
and elevating the taste wherever it went. The absurd style of the prev- 
ious generation was gradually supplanted and laid away among other curious 
relics of the past 

Quite another effect of the book was to attract attention to its 
compiler; for although its Preface stated that the Society "have for 

some time been engaged with much labour, and at considerable expense, in 


collecting materials for the present work , it further ran, as we have 
seen, that they "consider themselves as peculiarly fortunate in having 
had, for the accomplishment of their purpose, the assistance of Mr, Lowell 
Mason, one of their members now residing in Savannah, whose taste and 
science have well fitted him for the employment, and whose zeal for the 
improvement of Church Music, has led him to undertake an important part 
of the labour in selecting, arranging and harmonizing the several 



And so, the more broadcast the circulation of the book, the more 
definitely identified became its author with the cause of music, despite 
his desires to the contrary; until — for who can stem the tide of destiny? 
— Mason retired from banking and applied himself energetically to en- 
couraging and establishing a true appreciation of good music. Through 
Lectures, Articles and Communications to countless periodicals, through 
his class-teaching and musical demonstrations, he succeeded in arousing 
by degrees a desire for worthy song; and this desire he met, furthermore, 

7 sn j t n 


by gradually providing an ample and various supply of first-rate vocal works. 

Now the natural tendency of worthy music to exert a salutary influence 
was no less actual in his day — though psychologically less generally under- 
stood — than in our own. As a consequence, to the cause of music's welfare 
in America, and to that of validating its importance as a factor in the social 
and cultural life of the American people, Lowell Mason rendered a service at 
once revealing and of lasting value. 

, P t.^. ■. r -v_ „r„ tf? arn-'i-Tsv haft alaiaa oa ufli-b-tvoTDu TULai/baTa \d 

aoaeoXlfli x^^Ifla b i-xaxa at olwra ^d^ow *° XoasfaaeJ- laiitfaa a/tt woU 

_ TQbcu ^Lteieflea a3 el xIXao±soXorio W ayiod* - X **> bJW al laaioa aaal on aaw 
^1 * iairr lo eauao sdi oi sone/jpasnoo a aA .nwo uxo at asitt — boots 
Lsiooe Hit al io*oal b SB soaa^oqnLt all gfttUbil** lo Jartt <rf baa .aoiaamA pi 
Ja aairae a teisbam aoaaM IIe*oJ ,e!qoeq oBO±ie«A •*> lo eltL liratflao 

.aulav sotiaal lo boa sa2Iaove*x eooo 


Chapter VIII. 

Neither his duties at the Bank, his activities with the choir 
and the Sunday School, nor his many Southern interests had claimed all 
of Mason's time and attention, however, and four years or so prior to 
the completion of his book, The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection 
of Church Music , which occasioned his journey to Boston in 1821, a pur- 
pose quite different had called him North and temporarily away from 
Savannah. On September 3, 1817, when five-and- twenty years of age, he 

married at Westborough, Massachusetts, Miss Abigail Gregory, then in 


her twenty-first year, and the only child of Daniel Gregory (1765-1822) 
and Hannah Buckminster Gregory (1776-1860). 

If to imagination we must turn (since facts, fairly enough, are no 
concern of ours!) for whatever of fascinating romance preceded so joyful 
a culmination — characterizing by its happy vaticinal significance the 
inimitable days of wooing — it is nevertheless given us to know that to 
love and love alone both betrothal and marriage were due; that a mutual 
understanding and felicity marked the union of the twain throughout a life 
together of upwards of half a century, and that the affection on which 
the union rested not only met the test of life's inevitable perplexities 
— for weeds will appear in even the beautifullest of gardens — but con- 
tinued immutably steadfast as the years went by. 

1. A younger daughter, Harriet, died in 1804, when but three and 
one-half years old. 


Mrs. Mason's father, Daniel Gregory, Captain of the State Militia, 
had kept for several years a tavern at T ' r estbo rough — the first to be 
established there and known early last century as Gregory's Inn — a 
calling inadequately suggestive, to modern ears at least, of the excellent 
qualities of the man. 

For among the venerable landmarks once highly valued but brushed 
amy in the march of time, the tavern as known to our forbears ig in- 
dubitably one. Indeed, the word itself, symbol to early generations of 
kindly hospitality and seemly amenities, today connotes neither, victim 
as it is of a pejoration from -which there appears to be little or no like- 
lihood of escape. No longer do humorous and ofttimes instructive sign- 
boards, gaily swaying on their hinges, invite us to partake of the unique 

f 9^ 

comforts of the "Logwood Tree" 4 "the "Seven Stars , or the "Bunch of 
Grapes"y j to commune with the "grave and respectable" or the "brisk and 
jolly" tavern-keeper, "whose conversation was coveted by all his guests 
as the life and spirit of the company'V'to sip a dish of tea with his 
stately dame and comely daughters; or, chilled from the stage-coach ride 
thither, to call for a warming glass of sangaree as we take from its silver 
pocket-case a savory nutmeg for further spicing. 

Vanished now are these tokens of a by-gone age, welcome once in their 
utility, magnetic in their attractivenessj 

As a result, then, of his calling, Captain Gregory possessed a fund 
of information as to both his own and contiguous towns, whilst he himself 
in turn had become widely, favorably known. Indeed, to be licensed as a 
publican in his day, one must needs have been a man of principle and 
character. The Captain's soundness of judgment, his amiableness and 
fairness of decision, attracted many persons to him from near and far; 





for he was as trustworthy and as genial, withal, as "mine host" Giles 
Gosling, of Kenilworth' s "bonny Black Bear . ' That he had the courage of 
his convictions, too, is revealed by the fact that he joined no church, 
declaring that he firmly believed in the counsel given in Ecclesiastes 

(V, 4): "Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou 


shouldest vow and not pay 

Of unflinching honesty and hard common sense, he was yet by nature 
urbane and affectionate, .hile a faith in God — no less unquestioned 
than unquestioning led him to accept and to perform his lot in life 
with a cheerful and a manly heart. 

His wife, born Hannah Buckmin^ster, a host in herself, was the very 
quintessence of unselfishness. Possessed of an olden-time zealousness 
for housewifery, her thought constantly centered upon those about her, 
upon the welfare of kitchen, nursery, and parlor. To such degree was 
this so, in fact, that to her the household ever remained a "sacrosanct 
institution", as M. Romaine Rolland expresses it in Jean Ghristophe , 
though never, be it added, was her attitude marred by a meddlesome motive 
like that of Rolland' s Amelia ! An admirable trait, this household manage 
ment of hers, and by it too through example and experience Mrs. Gregory 
had justly come; for her father, in addition to serving as town treasu- 
rer, selectman, and Deacon of the church, had maintained for a number of 
years, similarly to Captain Gregory, a public-house near the centre of 
the town. 

Deacon Thomas Buckminster (1751-1826), Vrs. Gregory's father, was a 
son of Colonel Joseph Bucloninster (1697-1781), great-grandfather of the 
rarely-gifted Rev. Joseph Stevens Buckminster (1784-1812), already 
referred to as pastor of the Boston Church in Brattle Street, and of whom 



mccf f 


it has been said: "No one could look on his intellectual beauty, no 

one could hear the softest tone of his voice, without loving the spirit 


that dwelt in the expression of both* 1 '." Thus Abigail Gregory, Hannah 
Buckminster Gregory* s daughter, and the Rev. Joseph Stevens Buckminster 
were kinsfolk; and likely enough through the latter Lowell llason had 
made the acquaintance some years previously of her, who, later on, became 
his wife* 

Tedding bells rang merrily on this September day at Y/estbo rough, and 
all was as happy as happy could be. But when, at the hour of parting, 
Captain Gregory and his wife stood face to face with the unyielding 
fact that their daughter, their only child, sunbeam that she was, was 
leaving them for good and all, then, ah! then, a realizing sense of lone- 
liness burst upon them in all its meaning. An inward conflict, between 
deep emotion and a desire to appear joyous, for her sake, shook their 
very beings, rendering both unable to say all that they would. Early 
the next morning, however, Captain Gregory addressed a letter to Lowell 
Mason, despatching it to Medfield whither the young man, with his bride, 
had departed, that their happiness might be shared with his family, and 
hers too, now, and this letter, still preserved, reveals to us the nature 
of the man. 

Test bo rough, Sept. 4, 1317. 

"After a refreshing sleep I thought I would write a 
line to you, Dear Children, and bid you Good Horning 
and Good By, as my feeling was worked up so much be- 
yond my expectation I could not say what I wished to 
when you left here yesterday; but I feel very much 

1. The Rev. John Gorham Palfrey, as auoted in Mrs. Sliza Buckminster 
Lee*s Memoirs of Rev . Joseph Buckminster , D.D., and of his son , Rev . 
Joseph Stevens Buckminster . (Ticknor, Reed, and Fields. Boston 1351). 
The Rev. John G. Palfrey was minister of the Brattle Street Church 
from 1813 to 1830. 




composed this morning, thinking we must part by 
God's call in a very little time at the longest, 
— though it is hard for parents and children to 
part. 0, my dear Abby, if it is for your happi- 
ness that now we should part, which I have no 
doubt of, I feel perfectly resigned and you have 
my prayer that God protect you on your journey 
to your intended haven, and through life. I pray 
that God wilt that we may meet again in this world, 
but above all in that Heavenly world where there is 
no more parting. 

This from your affectionate Father, 

Dan'l Gregory. 

Tuesday morning, 5 o'clock. 

N. B, Last evening after you left I went down to 
Mrs. Wesson along with the Misses Brigham & Laner 
& helped them into the stage for the Spring." 

According to common belief, daughters resemble especially their 

fathers, and sons their mothers. '.Vhatever may be the virtue of this 

theory the character of Abigail Gregory, -while possessing qualities 

which distinguished that of her father, most assuredly exemplified the 

traits so marked in the character of her mother, and of which mention has 


been made. As she herself wrote (many, many years after the period of 
which we now write), "I thank God for the children He has given us; they 
are truly the second edition which is often better than the first, or 
ought to beV 1 

So, it seems to me, was she. And the qualities which combined to 
form her own character happily proved to be precisely the qualities with 
which she might meet, most congruously, and fulfill also, mindful of the 
interests of all, life's responsibilities as they crowded in upon her. 

No easy task the years to come held in store for this true soul. 
Problems and conditions would arise calling for calm, Griselda-like 

1. In a letter to her niece the late Mrs. C.C. Cary (daughter of 
Lov/ell Mason's brother, Johnson) September 6, 1866. 


patience; for tact, keen and raurmurless. Long, long hours — without 
end they would seem — hours of waiting, trustingly, for word or look 
from him at whose coming loneliness would change to joy; hours to be 
met, and cheerfully, helpfully borne, for the labours of that life to 
which she had linked her own, would be absorbing of time and thought, 
all-engrossing, self-demanding. Interruption, fatal to concentration 
and achievement, harrying to nerves and hence to physique, must be guard- 
ed against, nay more, must be rendered impossible. 
There was work ahead — and it must be done. 

Likewise for her there were household cares and, ere long, increas- 
ing as the years increased, parental cares as well, all requiring constant 
and nice administration; friends there were end acquaintances, men and 
women of exacting sensibilities, clergymen, educators, reformers, leaders 
in thought, music, politics, social life, and I know not what all; these 
there were, and more besides, to be met, corresponded with, and received — 
for the life to which she had blended her own was one of wide association, 
of various, constant activity. Its aims and motives penetrated the depths 
of human welfare, seeking, furthermore, once foundations were established, 
that welfare's progress and consummation. No easy task for her, we have 
said, as life unfolded with its ramifying, pullulating demands, yet a 
life full of interest and joy as well, for "where your treasure is, there 
will your heart be also"'." 

And with what resolution of will, control of detail, sagacity, v/armth 
of enthusiasm and charm did she unfailingly rise to every occasion, thus 
in large measure contributing, bravely at times and ever happily, to the 
successful outcome of her husband's undertakings! 

A noble woman! Active and true throughout a long life of ninety- two 




years, happy herself, since she, like Broking's Pippa, made others so; 
sympathizing in their bewilderments, delighting in their felicities. 
The memory of her Christian soul, now that she herself is gone, lives 
as a benison bright and endearing, and will so live through years to come. 

But time is fleet. Even honeymoon days will not linger; away they 
run J , none more enchanting, yet none more volantl The visit at Medfield 
is ended and Lowell Mason, now with his bride, is again in Savannah, and 
with redoubled incentive to make good his way. Occupied by day at the 
bank, many an evening he devotes to the study and teaching of music; 
while on the Lord's day he has The Presbyterian church-organ to play, 
his choir to direct, and his superintendency of the church's Sunday- School. 
As regards at least two of these ministrations he now rejoices in an ad- 
ditional source of inspiration — the stimulating co-operation of his 
sympathetic helpmeet; for Mrs. Mason as one of his sopranos sings in her 
husband's choir, and enrolling as one of his Sunday-school teachers 
gathers about her a group of children for religious instruction. 

Lowell Mason's work with his Savannah choir, by the way, though little 
at the time does he suspect it, is destined to count for much in his career, 
and largely in fact to determine what that career shall be. 

Already he has accumulated an amount of material for his Sunday- 
singers — the material, as we know, which in course of time was put forth 
as The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music . 

In The Columbia Museum and Savannah Gazette , for May 10, 1819, we 

find the following words in an account of the dedication at that time of 

the edifice of the Independent Presbyterian Church: 

"The psalms and hymns interspersed through the 
service were peculiarly well adapted to the solemnity 
of the occasion; and the performance of the vocal music 


tended to elevate the soul to sublime and 
heavenly musings^.-*' 

Now this reference to the care with which psalms, hymns and their 
musical settings were selected, that their mutual import should be ap- 
propriate to the occasion, indicates that Lowell Mason, the organist 
and director of music at this dedicatory service, thus early put into 
practice a principle to which throughout his life he rigorously adhered 
in all that he did and said regarding song as a part of the service in 
divine worship. 

It was ever his custom to confer with a minister as to the text 
chosen for the sermon; then to select hymns and hymn-tunes expressive 
of the content of that text, or at least in conformity with it. Thus 
a homogeneity, a completeness, in the service was obtained. To us of 
to-day there is nothing novel in the idea, in 1819 there was. Similarly 
in the selection of words for secular music, Mason maintained that there 
should exist a kindred feeling between the two, and that the message of 
the words should of itself be excellent and worthy. Of especial import- 
ance was this in texts of songs for children, and interesting it is to 
read the songs he published in his children's books of a century ago, 
for a number of which he wrote the verses as well as the music. 

But through fidelity to this principle of consistency he once 
became the target, on the part of an over- scrupulous churchman, of an 
unexpected rebuke. The story goes that at an evening prayer-meeting, 
we know not when or where, Mason found no opportunity for ascertaining 
the text of the minister' s remarks until after the meeting had begun. 
His seat, on the platform, was close to the minister's, as he was to 
lead the singing. And it was during the prayer, horribile dictu 


on Jba 



that Mason seized his only available moment for selecting the hymns. 
At the conclusion of the prayer, the meeting was interrupted by a deacon, 
who, rising to his feet, stated that with regret he felt called upon to 
remonstrate — that Mr, Mason's eyes had been open while prayer was being 
offered, a time when all eyes should be closed. With wonted dignity the 
transgressor arose; he stated it was so, his eyes had been open and he 
was sorry to have offended. "But how*^ he asked, "did Deacon Blank know 
that my_ eyes were open?" 

In 1818, shortly after the arrival of the Masons in Savannah, the 
Trustees of Chatham Academy, a co- educational institution of the city, 
opened the Academy's new and then but recently completed building. 

A wing of this building was for years maintained as an hotel and 
here, close to the Presbyterian Church in Bull Street, Mr, and Mrs. Mason 
made their home. Bull Street was regarded at the time, and still is, as 
one of the handsomest of the several broad and we 11- shaded thoroughfares 
of the admirably planned "Forest City" of the South. 

Singularly inviting, at its avenues' intersections, are the numerous 
squares, or diminutive parks, that form, with their palmettos, magnolias, 
flowering oleanders and the like, charming recesses of seclusion and 
quietude. Thus for the weary pedestrian, are provided bowers of rest, 
cool and refreshing; and for little children, inimitable playgrounds — 
playgrounds so like fairyland, in truth, that well might King Oberon, 
with his reconciled Queen, alight here of a midsummer night and summon 
to court revels, amid the fragrance of thicket and moon-silvered trees, 
the frolicsome Puck and his host of tripping fays. 

At the time the Masons lived in the Academy building two hundred 
or more young men and women were pursuing their studies in the Institu- 
tion's various departments. The new comers grew to know many of these, 


and also the Academy 1 3 first Principal, James D. Fyler, whom the 
Trustees announced as a "gentleman highly recommended, and well known 
as possessing every qualification for that office, not only in extensive 
erudition, but in experience as a skillful instructor." Intercourse 
with such an one doubtless proved helpful to the younger instructor, eager 
at all times to learn and to develop a natural predilection for teaching. 
Mrs. Mason, also, found much to interest her in her southern home; and 
a stirring sight it surely was when in the month of May, 1819, the City 
of Savannah 9 first steamship ever to cross the Atlantic ocean, left the 
port whose name she bore, and saiisd away for Liverpool, 


One year from this time a happy event occurred — the birth of a 
son on May 8, 1820; and in honor of Mrs. Mason's father, the child was 
named Daniel Gregory Mason. 

Within another year or so Lowell Mason had completed his collection 
of musical material, end with it had left for the North in quest of a 
publisher — first at Philadelphia, then at Boston. The outcome we 
already know. 

From this period, too, dates Mason's hymn-tune Mornington (1822), 


an arrangement of a Chant composed in 1760 by Garrett Colley Wellesley, 
father of the hero of Waterloo. Although the arrangement was originally 
set to the hymn beginning: 

"My gracious God, how plain 

Are thy directions given; 
Oh may I never read in vain, o^- 

But find the path to heaven j" 

1. Garrett Colley Wellesley (1735-1781), the first Sari of Mornington, 
evinced a musical talent as a child, becoming proficient in later 
life as organist, violinist, and composer of Glees, Anthems, and 
divers forms of church music. At twenty-one he received from the 
University of Dublin the honorary degree Doctor of Music . 

rarer qb 

•xeri a± led xsenetnx or noma fc>mjoi «oaIa ,cosbM .ail? 
lo xM-aoa artf ax nerfw saw ^lo-fiya ±1 tdgia yiXTxii-a £ 
■sUA ©rtf as 010 of rev© qxttemosi'a ^aixl t rifcfiflrycS lo 

benwooo t/rsv© ^qqprl a ©raft eiriJ- aoi^ -rao^ enO 

•aoo bar! ■ 

it floi lav 



it has since appeared as a setting for various hymns, while in The 

National Psalmodist , a collection of church music edited by Lowell Mason 

and George James Y/ebb, 1848, its text is the hymn beginning I hear thy 


word with love , a cento based on Dr. Isaac Watt* s Behold the morning sun , 
which, in turn, is based on Psalm XIX. 

"While in London, in 1837, Mason attended one evening as the guest 
of a friend, so records his Journal for that year, "the Concert of 
Antient Music at the King's Concert Rooms, Hanover Square . The occasion, 
"under the direction of the Archbishop of York , was one of a series, 
"attended mostly by the nobility "V 7 Imagine the guest's interest and the 
pleasant awakening of his memory as he observed in the audience the Duke 
of Wellington, whose father many years previously had composed the lovely 
Chant which, with slight alteration but consistent reverential feeling, 
Mason had arranged as a hymn-tune a contribution welcomed by the church 
more than a century ago, and welcome to this day. 

But in the summer of this year, a heavy blow befell the young family 

— the death of Mrs. Mason's father, Captain Gregory, on August eleven, 
1822. That she might now be with her widowed mother, Mrs. Mason passed 
the following spring and sunaner at the Westborough homestead. While there 
a second son was born to her, 17 June, 1823. He was named Lowell Mason, 
Junior. As the summer waned, the Westborough visit drew to its close, 
and Mrs. Mason, with her two baby boys, rejoined her husband at Savannah. 

Lowell Mason was now in his thirty- second year; his reputation as 
musician and teacher was fairly well established; for what with his book, 

The Handel and Haydn Society Collection — by this time widely influential 


— the progress of his pupils and the excellent singing of his choir, 
recognition of his talents had steadily advanced. During this year of 



T Off mk 


1824, too, he issued his second book, Select Chants and Doxologies . while 

from the same period date two of his earlier hymn-tunes: Kollock . 1822, an 

arrangement from the German and named in memory of his Savannah minister and 

friend who had died in 1812, as a setting for the well-known hymn — though 

its authorship, unfortunately, remains problematical — beginning with the 

verse Jerusalem , my happy home ; and Sabbath f 1824, an adaptation of a 

German air ("Freu dich sehr meine Seele") and first sung at the Independent 

Presbyterian Church, Savannah, Mason leading the singing, for the Rev. 

John Newton's hymn: 

"Safely through another week, 
God has brought us on our my." 

And now an event of significance took place, ail-unexpectedly and of 


a sudden, as it were. It appears that Miss Howard, Mason* s Sunday School 

assistant to whom he refers in his letter to Mr. Mallon (see p. ), hav- 


ing read Bishop Heber' s then recent but now universally- known hymn, 

1. Rev. John Newton (1725-1807), curate of Olney, England; intimate friend 
of the poet, William Cowper (1731-1800), with whom he produced in 1779 
the Olney Hymns . Safely through another week , from Olney Hymns, Book II, 
No. 40, bears there the title Saturday Evening . 

2. Miss Mary Wallace Howard, who became the wife (14 December, 1833) of the 
Rev. Francis Robert Goulding (1810-1881), author of the popular story 
for boys, Robert and Harold, or The Young Maro oners on the Florida 
Coast (1852), and other books. 

3. Thackeray, in his George the Fourth Essay, writes: ""Je have spoken of 

a good soldier and good men of letters as specimens of English gentlemen 
of the age just passed: may we not also — and many of my elder hearers, 
I am sure, have read, and fondly remember his delightful story — speak 
of a good divine, and mention Reginald Heber as one of the best of Eng- 
lish gentlemen? The charming poet, the happy possessor of all sorts 
of gifts and accomplishments, birth, wit, fame, high character, com- 
petence — he was the beloved parish priest in his own home of Hodnet, 
'counselling his people in their troubles, advising them in their diffi- 
culties, comforting them in their distress, kneeling often at their sick- 
beds at the hazard of his own life; exhorting, encouraging where there 
was need; where there was strife the peacemaker; when there was want the 
free giver. 1 

When the Indian Bishopric was offered to him he refused at first; but 
cfter communing with himself (and committing his case to the quarter 
whither such pious men are wont to carry their doubts), he withdrew his 
refusal, and prepared himself for his mission and to leave his beloved 
parish. 'Little children, love one another, and forgive one another , 
were the last sacred words he said to his weeping people. He parted with 
them, knowing, perhaps, he should see them no more." 


From Greenland's ley fountains f and having been moved by its appeal, sought 

a hymn-tune to which it might be sung; but because of its soaewhat peculiar 

meter (7s, 6s, D.) — practically unknown here at the time — she could find 

no appropriate musical setting. Despatching the hymn one morning to Lowell 

; : son, she requested that he compose a tune with fitting rhythm for the 


stanzas. In a surprisingly short while — a half an hour it is recorded — 

As the writing of the hymn was quite as remarkable as the composing 

of the music, an account of the circumstances is here given: 

The occasion of Heber 1 s writing the famous hymn, From 
Greenland 1 s Icy Mountains , was a sermon by his father-in- 
law, Dean Shipley, in aid of the Society for the Propa- 
gation of the Gospel, on Whitsunday, 1819, in the parish 
church of Wrexham (England). The Dean had asked him on 
the previous day to write some hymn appropriate to the 
occasion, and the story goes that Heber then and there 
wrote the verses now familiar to us all. If we may 
accept the narrative of the circumstances under which the 
hymn was written, these famous verses were strictly im- 
promptu, and will reveal, perhaps, more than any other 
evidence I can bring, a spontaneity vhich could scarcely 
be found in a writer who was not both skilled and devout. 

Truly the same may be said of the tune and its composer. The music 


is known "where'er the sun does his successive journeys run and of it 


one has declared: Like the hymn it voices, it was done at a stroke, but 

4 > 

it will last through the ages 

1. Hezekiah Butterworth, in The Story of the Tunes (1890) states: "A 
letter from the venerable widow of Dr. Mason" confirms this. 

2. Composed in 1824; at first called Heber , but later Missionary Hymn , 
as there existed several hymn-tunes of the former name, e.g., those 

of George Kingsley (1811-1384) and Edward J. Hopkins, Mus. D. (1813-1901 ) 

3. From Reginald Heber , Bishop of Calcutta , by A. Montefiore (New York, 1904) 

4. See Annotations , by the Rev. Charles Seymour Robinson (1829-99), 
editor of a number of extensively circulated hymnals. 


Appaaciaag Originally as a soprano solo in sheet-music form, with an 

3- A 

inscription reading, "Composed for and Dedicated to Miss Mary T .V. Hov/ard, 
of Savannah, Georgia", the music -was subsequently -p abliohcd in the ninth 
edition (±&S9 ) of The Boston Handel and Haydn Soc iety Collection of Church 
1 usic . Iiaoludo d from that time on in hymnals generally, "the effect of 
Mason's tune", to quote Dr. L. F. Benson, "has been to make From Green - 
land' s Icy Mountains the inevitable hymn for all missionary occasions in 
this country; and in England, even to this day, the tune is frequently 

heard in churches where music of the severer type known as Anglican has 
1 A 

come to prevail*; "while a closing paragraph from the Memoir of Bishop 

Heber, written by his widow some years after his death, states: 

But the most pleasing memorial of Bishop Heber in 
the United States is a living and breathing one. With 
hearts filled with faith and hope, ten thousand times 
ten thousand Christians, scattered over all the land, 
in every hamlet, village, town and city, are found 
every month singing his missionary hymn, From Green - 
land ' s Ic y, Mountains. 

The hymn, going hand in hand with Mason' s music, has been translated 
it is said into more languages than any other sacred poem. 

Mason's setting for the hymn was first heard in divine service at 
the Independent Presbyterian Church, at Savannah, in the year 1824; Miss 
Howard, to whoa it was dedicated, being the soloist, and the composer, 
as organist sjid director, leading the singing* 

It has been asserted that the Missionary Hymn , as the hymn- tune 

2 <fr 

has long been called, "turned Lowell Mason from banking to music . But 

1. See Studies of Familiar Hymns , Hew Edition, 1917, by Louis F. 3enson, 
D. D. (Westminster Press, Philadelphia). 

2. See Article on Hymnology , by Dr. Samuel G. Ayers and Professor 
Irving G. Woodj in The Hew International Encyclopa edia, New York, 1917. 



this assertion, though containing perhaps a grain of truth, is, I believe, 
like many an epigrammatic remark, overdrawn. 

Be that as it may, the composing of the music was a fact of importance 
in Lowell Llason's career; and deeper still it signalized a progressive step 
in the development of a pertinent form of congregational song for the Pro- 
testant Christian Church. 

. awairrrevo .^icaisn o lj - ain«i3'is Iqo as ^irsm yJiX 

1o doal c eaw ^Jtaum srld" lo ^nlsoqcoo t x,aei tt ea JaifJ" 9fi 
n^oiq a iras-clangis J± UJtte teqe^b f*iB { iootbo a'noaaM IlewoJ nl 

lo a-rul d'oexilj-teq a 'to tnamqoloveb 9rid- xxl 

Chapter IX. 

Gregorian music, with its simple dignity, its melodies of moderate 
tempo, stateliness and religious tradition, made early appeal to Lowell 
Lias on. Not sharing in the prejudice so common among his Protestant con- 
temporaries against this plain song music, because of its origin within 
the Church of Rome, but believing rather in the universality of music 
as a message to all, he welcomed in these unadorned yet strong diatonic 
themes, characterized by placid beauty and poise alik e of sequence and 

cadence, a form of musical expression both impressive and reverential. 


Frequently, therefore, he utilized a Gregorian melody as the upper 

or soprano voice of a four-part harmonization, employing the whole as 

a setting for a hymn, or a Scriptural text. 

Of his several hymn-tunes written in this manner the most widely 

known is Hamburg — first published in 1825 (in the third edition of 
The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Lot sic ) , but 
first sung in the year of its production, 1824, at the Savannah Inde- 
pendent Presbyterian Church, with 1'ason at the organ conducting the 
singing. The source of its melody is a Gregorian Chant, in conformity 
with Tone 1; and its first text, the following quatrain — a cento based 
on Dr. Isaac '.Tatfsr paraphrase of Psalm C: 

"Sing to the Lord, with joyful voice, 
Let ev'ry land his name adore; 
Let earth, with one united voice, 9— 
Resound his praise from shore to shore 

During the life of the tune, now considerably upwards of a century, 

it has been adapted to many hymns and has appeared, as it does to-day, 

in hymn-and-tune books of various denominations — a fact attesting its 

1. Of other hymn- tunes similarly written by Lowell Tason the following 
may be mentioned: Andora, Bevern, Calmar, Clement , Dyonisius , Zusebius, 
Ilba, Kartyjr, Nashville , Nazareth , Olmutz , Pa-faro s , Ripley . 


elemental strength and perennial qualities. But the text with -which 
Hamburg (sometimes called Aventine and, in slightly different form, 
Boston ) is perhaps most closely associated is Dr. Y. r att*sjneditative lyric, 

T .7hen I survey the wondrous cross , dating from 1707 and declared by 


Matthew Arnold to be "the finest hymn in the English language"',' 3 

Many a composer has contributed a musical setting for these enduring 
verses, while of Hamburg it has been written that "worshippers in spirit- 
ual sympathy with the words may question if, after all, old "Hamburg. 1 ^- 
the best of Mason's loved Gregorians, does not, alone, in tone and elocu- 

1 \x~ 

tion, rise to the level of the hymn"." 

Imbued With his ideas of reform, which sought a higher standard and 
a more intelligent appreciation of the true function of music in its re- 
lation to divine service, Mason now gladly availed himself of an oppor- 
tune occasion for sneaking publicly on the subject. Accepting an invita- 
tion received from two churches, he delivered an address, Church Music , 
in— 8e4e45©-r-r--i3-36> before the members of the Hanover Street Church and,*bh©s« 
•e£ the Third Baptist Churchy both of Boston. 

A few days subsequently he received the following communication: 

To Lowell Mason, Esq., 

Sir, — Having heard the address which you delivered 
in the Vestry of Hanover Church and in the Baptist Meet- 
ing House in Charles Street, on Church Music, and believ- 
ing it adapted to awaken interest and promote correct 
views, with respect to that important subject, we res- 
pectfully solicit a copy for publication; and in doing 
this, we are confident we speak the language of those 
who were present. 

Lyman Beecher, 
Daniel Sharp, 
B.B. Wisner, 
Jeremiah Evarts, 
William Ropes. 

Boston, Oct. 10, 1826. 

1. S4e The Story of the Hymns an d Tunes , Brown and Butterworth, p. 111. 
(American Tract Society, New York^T^ * ? C ~J 



To tli is he at once replied: 

Boston, October 11, 1826. 
Gentlemen, — The address on Church I.lusic, delivered 
in the vestry of Hanover Church, in this city, on 
Saturday evening, 7th inst., and in the Third Baptist 
Church on the Monday evening following, was prepared 
on very short notice and amidst numerous engagements. 
Being about to leave the city, it is impossible for me 
to give it a thorough revision. The hope, however, that 
imperfect as it is, it may have some tendency to call 
the attention of Christians to a much neglected but 
pleasing and important part of public worship, induces 
me to yield to your request for a copy for publication. 

Very respectfully, 
L. Mason. 

Upon its publication the Address immediately became the subject of 
review by the press. The author's ideas thus discussed reached beyond the 
ambit of his own activities, with the result that public opinion, whether in 
agreement or opposition, was definitely aroused. And this at a time too when 
but relatively few persons deemed music deserving of consideration from any 
serious point of view, when gross ignorance of the subject characterized the 
majority and when some in truth went so far as to denounce music in toto as 
a wile of the evil spirit, and the professional musician as a disreputable 

But the seed of reform had now been sown. Persons having charge of 
music in churches, singing-schools and musical societies, as well as 
church-choir members and an increasing number of individuals among both 
the clergy and the laity evinced a lively interest in the question at 
issue, with an avjakened realization of the unsatisfactory conditions 
then prevailing. Thus the address proved to be a fillip and a turning- 
point alike; for it led to a more careful and improved performance of 
such music as was current, and it incited a demand for a different 
and more suitable type of music. 


True, a few years prior to the delivery of the address there had 
appeared a book, in 1822, by Thomas Hastings — based though it was on 
various English publications (durney's History of Music , Avison's Essay- 
on Musical Expression , and others) — bes.ring the title Dissertation on 
Musical Taste , And though the readers of the book were limited in number, 
one there was to whom it came as a treasure-trove, — our young enthusiast, 
who read and re-read it, finding much in its pages that coincided with 
thoughts of his own, and more as well that suggested new thoughts to him. 
The portions of the work relating to music for the church Mason especially 
welcomed — evidences of the effect of these upon him being traceable here 
and there throughout his Address. 

As for the purport of the Address itself, the following excerpts will 
serve to make this clear: 

"Church music is a divine institution. * * * Uusic has been 
employed in the worship of God in all ages of the church. The object 
or design of its institution is no less obvious. * * * To animate 
and enliven the feelings of aevotion is undoubtedly tne office of mu- 
sic in the church. * * * It is as a religious exercise only tbat 
we are authorized to introduce music into the church, and from religious 
motives should Christians be induced to cultivate an acquaintance with 
it. That there is no religion in music is readily admitted; but music 
is capable of subserving a religious purpose. * * * There is no re- 
ligion in eloquence: but who aoes not acknowledge its importance to the 
minister of the Gospel? Who has not felt the words of divine truth sink 
deep into his heart, when they have been accompanied with the thrilling 
and irresistible tones of an earnest and commanding elocution? Music 
has a similar power: it can move, or melt, or rouse, an audience; and 
ought, therefore, to be a powerful auxiliary to the faithful preacher. 
Music is a refined species of elocution; and, as such, its office is to 
enforce upon the heart the sentiment which is sung. It must do this more 
effectively than the simple reading of tne same words can do, although 
they were to be read in the best manner possible; for otherwise it would 
be useless. It were better that music should not be introduced at all 
into public worship, if it fail to accomplish this end. Indeed its in- 
fluence in the church cannot be of a mere negative character. Musical 
taste is much more intimately connected with religious feeling than is 
generally supposed. It cherishes on the one hand, or destroys on the 
other, those pious emotions which public and social worship is designed 
to call into exercise. * * * But when badly conducted, it becomes 
rather a hindrance than a help to devotion. **.;,.# * The principal 
reason for the present degraded state of church music, seems to be, that 
its design has been forgotten, and j_^ s cultivation as a religious exer- 


cise, neglected. * * * It is often given up, almost exclusively, 
into the hands of those who have no other qualifications than mere 
musical talent; and who, being destitute of any feelings of piety, are 
almost as unfit to conduct the singing of the church, as they would 
be the preaching or the praying. Having been furnished by nature with 
an ear to appreciate the melody of sweet sounds, such persons take up 
church music as a mere amusement, and pursue it solely with reference 
to the tasteful gratification it affords them. In proportion, there- 
fore, as they are enabled to delight themselves, and to draw forth the 
applause of others, by communicating the same feelings to them, in the 
same proportion they succeed in accomplishing the object of their ex- 
ertions. * * * Can church music thus conducted be regarded as an 
exercise of devotion, or be expected to excite or cherish religious 
feeling? Certainly not. * * * Banish singing from the church — con- 
sign our hymn books to the flames — and hang the harps of Zion upon 
the willows, rather than that such should be the effects of music. 
-* # # # -x- The remedy for this state of things cannot fail to sug- 
gest itself to every one who loves the public exercises of religion, 
and is desirous of deriving benefit from them. The church must take 
up the subject; the influence of piety must be brought to bear upon 
it; * * the proper object of church music must be understood; and 
Christians must cultivate it as a part of a religious duty. * # * 

Music is an art; and is to be regularly cultivated, in its own 
measure, like painting, or poetry, or sculpture, or architecture. We 
cannot expect to derive benefit from it, if we suffer it to lie ne- 
glected. In the secular department tnis principle is well understood 

* * * it is only the music of the church that is left to take care 
of itself, or committed to unskilful hands. 

Now we do not complain that secular music is cultivated: on the 
contrary, we rejoice in its progress. * * But we do complain that 
sacred music should be so totally neglected ; and this, too, by those 
who acknowledge its importance as a part of religious worship. * * 

A capacity for music is much more common than is generally sup- 
posed. If no more attention were bestowed upon the art of reading 
than is bestowed upon the art of music, good readers would be as scarce 
as good singers are. * * * But how often do we hear it said by 
Christians, 'Oh, I can't sing — I have nothing to do with the singing. 
You must take care of that I' Now here is the very root of the evil — 
the very bane of church music. A Christian nothing to do with sing- 
ing! * * * What would be thought of a Christian who should say the 
same of public prayer? If singing be a devotional exercise — as much 
so as prayer; then every Christian is, or ought to be, deeply interested 
in it; and every Christian has duties to perform in relation to it. 

* -* * * -* * it is not said, it will be observed, that a man pos- 
sessing other qualifications, is to be excluded from singing, on the 
ground that he is not a pious man. On the contrary, the services of 
such may be important. * * * But it is said that singing, so far 
as it relates to public worship, should be in the hands of the church, 
and that in every choir tnere should be a prevailing influence of 
piety. * * * A thorough and permanent reformation in church music, 
however, can not be effected, but by a gradual process. 

Children must be taught music as they are taught to read. Until 
something of this kind is done, it is in vain to expect any great and 
lasting impronement. * * * It is a mistake fatal to the interests 


of church music, to suppose that singing can not be taught in child- 
hood, in this respect, it is analogous to the art of reading. If this 
be not required untjl the age of eighteen or twenty years, it is proba- 
ble it vd.ll always be neglected: so if music be not taught in child- 
hood, much progress must not be expected afterwards. * # * When 
the church will take this subject into its own hands, when children 
shall be taught music, when choirs shall be composed of serious and 
proper persons who shall cultivate music as a religious duty, when 
singing shall be considered as much of a devotional exercise as pray- 
er; then the evils which have been so long existing, will speedily be 
removed, and church music will be performed in some measure as it 
ought to be. # * * The abuses of which we now complain, are 
wholly to be attributeu to the apathy of the church on this subject. 
The difficulties and disputes that so frequently occur in choirs; the 
gross violations of the Sabbath which grow out of the existing state 
of things; the whistling and talking and levity, so often observable 
in the singers' seats; the thoughtless and protane manner in which the 
name of God is often used; all the solemn mockery of singing as it now 
exists, is chargeable to the church. The guilt lies at her aoor, and 
the remedy is in her hands; and yet, alas I Christians and Christian 
ministers too, suffer this thing to go on, without lifting a finger 
to stay its progress, and without seeming to know or desiring to know 
what their duty is in relation to it, or whether they have any respon- 
sibility in the case whatever. * * * * 

The subject of instrumental accompaniment is one of considerable 
importance; both because instruments are generally used, and because 
they may be employed to great advantage. * * * The art of accom- 
panimEnt seems to be as little understood and as much abused by in- 
strumentalists, as is the art of singing by vocalists. * * * When 
instruments are employed as an accompaniment, they should always be 
made subordinate to the vocal parts, with which they should combine 
in a harmonious and delicate manner. They should never predominate, or 
be so prominent as to attract the attention of the audience, or draw 
off the mind from the subject of the poetry. Indeed, unless they can 
assist to enforce the sentiment of the words upon the heart, they are 
worse than useless. But this is what they are designed to do, and when 
properly used are capable of doing. How different is the effect produ- 
ced by them as they are frequently used in our churches! 

The instruments usually employed in church music are either the or- 
gan, violoncellos, clarinets, flutes, etc. There are, however, very 
serious objections to the use of the latter instruments. * * The or- 
gan is certainly the most valuable instrument for accompanying church 
music. * * But valuanle as the organ is, how seldom do we find it t^^jU. 
well managed! * * The abuse of the organ may in almost all cases be 
to the character and qualifications of the organist. * * Execution, ^ 
or a mere ability to play expertly upon his instrument, is probably 
not more important to the organist, than eloquence is to the preacher; 
and yet this is the only qualification generally required. A mere trial 
of skill often determines the choice; and the man who excels in execut- 
ing the most difficult passages upon his instrument, is appointed to 
the office. * * A minister must, indeed, be able to speak acceptably 


in the pulpit; and if he is eloquent, end at the same time possesses 
the other requisite qualifications, it is so much the better. So with 
the organist: he must be able to play in a plain and appropriate style, 
which it is not difficult to acquire; and if he is a finished performer, 
it is all the better, provided he possesses the other more important 
qualifications. What these qualifications are, must occur to the mind 
of every person who considers the important station the organist ogcu- , 
pies in the public worship of God, and the influence he is enabled "or' -> 
oxoririog ^ through the medium of his instrument, upon the feelings of 
the audience. He should be a pious man, or at least one who has a deep 
sense of the solemnity of public worship. He must be a man of good judg- 
ment, or he will make the most fatal mistakes in accompanying such 
hymns as call forth, in different stanzas, emotions of different char- 
acter. He should understand the nature of his instrument and the ob- 
jects of its introduction into the church — as s-n accompaniment to the 
voices — subservient to vocal effect, or rather designed to promote 
it. * * Were such orgcnists employed, there would be fewer complaints 
of loud and unmeaning playing; of long, flourishing, and fanciful in- 
terludes, foreign to the subject and unfit for the church; of diffi- P 
culties between organists^, and singers, and trustee^, and committees^ 
and a thousand other ills that church music now is heir to. -* * * 
One of the most important characteristics of a good psalm tune is sim- 
plicity) or such an arrangement with respect both to melody and har- 
mdny^&s shall render the design intelligible, and the execution easy. 
Solemnity is no less important. But how often do we find tunes the most 
complicated and difficult both as i^regards melody and harmony, or 
florid and rapid movements, chosen in preference to simple and familiar 
airs. * * * * * 

May I hope to be pardoned for saying that it is much to be regret- 
ted that no more attention is paid to musigj as a part of religious 
worship, in the education of ministers of the Gospell 'Ye must of ne- 
cessity maintain music in schools, 1 /" says Luther: 1 a schoolmaster 
ought to have skill in music, otherwise I would not regard him; neither 
should we ordain young fellows to the office of preaching, except be- 
fore, they have exercised and practised in the school of music.' 

'It is the duty of those who are preparing for the ministry,' I 
now quote from the Chris tain Spectator, 'to cultivate taste and skill 
in sacred music. The preacher who is^unable to sing, will will often 
find this a deficiency that^lejsgens tiie power of doing good. However, 
many have piety and talents to preach the Gospel, who have not the 
capacity to acquire this art. We would not have them on this account 
turn aside from the holy work. But we would require of every candi- 
date for the ministry, what a man even of very limited musical capa- 
cities certainly can do, that he attend sufficiently to the subject 
to know what style of music is suitable for public devotion, and what 
collections contain such music. With this knowledge alone he can do 


much m promoting good psalmody: he may/ at least avoid the misfor- 
tune and the shame of recommending and encouraging that which is bad. I 
We sincerely regret, therefore, that there is not more interest on 
this subject in our theological seminaries. 

•Every thing connected with the interests of the church is a pro- 
per subject of attention and study at a seminary for educating the 
guardians of the church. If it be important that the praying and the 
preaching in public worship be performed suitably, it is also import- 
ant that the singing should be performed suitably. And if ministers 
will not watch over this part of the service, who will? But proper 
attention will not be given to the subject in our theological insti- 
tutions, until they are furnished with professors of music. Let this 
be done and we shall witness a new era in the sacred music of our 
country. * 

May we not confidently indulge the hope, that the church is about 
to awake on this subject; and that while so much is doing in the 
world to advance the cause of science and religion, the songs of Zion 
will lie no longer neglected?" 

Such, then, were the ideas and monitions set forth by Mason in 
1826. No tally-ho's ringing bugle-call ever startled country village 
with surprise more complete than that with which these ideas were receiv- 
ed by those who gave them heed. But surprise quickly changed to approval 
as agitation — ever the early step of reform — stirred the public 
mind. Shaken from their lethargy, numerous members of numerous commu- 
nions were suddenly faced with the fact of their long neglect in con- 
nection with a potent influence in their lives, of an element in divine 


worship concerning which they had remained, until now, quiesently con- 
tent but singularly remiss. 

At last a leader had appeared, who through soundness of judg- 
ment, reverence of temper and native ability, was capable of exposing 
the incongruities, the affectations, aye, the profanations, of that 
which men and women had almost universally accepted (though in their ig- 
norance, be it said) as "sacred" music. 

Actuated by a strong religious sense, but in full recognition of 
the responsibility and the opportunity now his, Mason determined to 
spare no effort in effecting an appropriate form of music for the 


house of God, and in bringing about an enlightened public eea pr e h e n - 
•&±en -of song-worship as a means of spiritual invigoration. 

WAT ^ 

Happily enough, once his resolve became known, he received the 
encouraging support of certain young men of the time, who, in hearty 
accord with his views, eagerly joined him in the pursuit of his cherished 

Referring in a subsequent address to this little band of co-workers, 
Mason recounts, in 1851, that "they believed that Psalmody should not be 
an isolated thing, a mere musical exercise, separate, distinct, and hav- 
ing little or nothing to do with the spirituality of worship; but that 
it should be regarded as a part of the service and as that part which, 
of all parts, ought most to draw out, revive, and quicken the affections. 
They were, indeed, lovers of music, sjid friendly to its general culti- 
vation; but it was in music as directly connected with religious worship , 
that they desired to awaken an interest and exert an influence;" and, as 
he further states in the same address, "it is often from want of a proper 
practical understanding of this distinction, if we err not, that efforts 
professedly for improvement in Psalmody fail of accomplishing their end; 
and sometimes sacred music societies, and church choirs too, professedly 
aiming at improvement in church music, stop short of this, and are satis- 
fied with mere musical progress or gratification. Musical Societies 
are generally made of musical men; and if religious men are included, 
they are there musically and not religiously . We are not to look then 
to mere musical societies for all that is needed to advance the cause of 
church music. On the other hand, where churches , or associations of 
religious persons as such , are willing or desirous of doing what they 
can in this work, they often fail for want of musical knowledge. Both 

n erf ,x«ron)i etuoad 


musical knowledge and religious principle and feeling ire equally nec- 
essary to success in the well- ordering and conducting of the music of 
worship . 5 ' 

But it was this very sense of religious principle and feeling that 
had been lacking in those who provided music for the church, during the 
era now under consideration. And though historically the musical contri- 
bution of William Billings and his disciples reflects a spirit of political 
freedom and patriotism, it jaoaae— the-ien&s stands as witness to the then 
deplorable condition of music as an expression of religious faith. Because 
of its lawlessness, moreover, even as an expression of the spirit of 
liberty — from all viewpoints save those of originality and energy — it 
is adventitious rather than genuine. Liberty, to flower into fulness, 
respects order, law and reason; but the tanner- musician, riding rough- 
shod over technical safe-guards and disregardful of booai harmonic and 
contrapuntal principles, attained through unwarranted means mainly an 
unsatisfactory end. 

Nov; the artist, or creator, of what soever calling (and therefore the 
musician, be he composer or interpreter), has as his aim objective self- 
expression; he seeks, through knowledge of the laws governing the pheno- 
mena with which he deals, to objectify his feelings. From his point of 
view, this objectif ication, to be successful, must be a faithful embodi- 
ment — in the sense of being an independent existence — of the feelings 
whence it springs. And as for the technic, or the means whereby the 
result is obtained, it is but a truism to say that in a commendable result 
a sine ojia npn is sincerity. And again, the more translucent the technic 
the better the outcome — in that the real value of the objective self- 
expression may shine forth through the technic the more clearly and 



unobstructealy. A needlessly elaborate technic but tends to conceal and 
cloud the desired result. To produce meritorious music worthy of the Church, 
one should possess first of all a clear insight into his subject; he should 
respond emotionally, heart and soul, to his subject; he must live its meaning, 
for art is an activity, and vdthout experience there can be no vital art. From 
this it follows that the creative musician of talent, in writing for the 
Church, can the ;*:ore definitely "animate and enliven the feelings of devotion 
(which, as Mason states, is music f s function in the Church) the more truly de- 
vout he himself is, the more genuine and living his religious nature and ex- 

And thus it came about that the so-called fugue-tune, championed by Bil- 
lings and 1J.S followers, was superseded. "It was not suited," writes Dr. David 
R. Breed in The History and Jse of Hymns and Hymn-tunes . "to congregational 

or ship. Yet, as in the days of the old canons, there was a loud cry for some 
master-musician who should resolve these elements into a new and nobler form, 
some modern Palestrina who should do for the hymn-tune what the great Italian 
did for the music of his own age. 

"We cannot say that another Palestrina did really appear. The service which 
corresponded to his was rendered by a number of musicians who contributed to 
the reform and made it effective. Yet among these tnere was one who beyond all 
others deserves to be called the Modern Palestrina, an American composer, 
whose splendid and permanent work and whose vast influence we have not yet 
learned to estimate at their true value, and with whom the perfected hymn-tune 
is at last introduced. 

"The modern school, which began with^kason (if indeed he may not be called 
its founder), Was t e successful creator of a style in which t^e dignity 
of the old psalm-tunes is modified and 


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beautified by the color of the period which followed them. The breadth 

is reinstated and warmth is added. There is a wider range and more 

liberty; there is a judicious selection of nelodies from secular sources; 

but all with the most worshipful intent." 

Lowell Mason's interest regarding the change in church music thus 

brought about did not cease, however, with his participation in that 

change, for such would have been contrary to the nature of the man. In 

its development, as well, his interest was equally keen, continuing una- 

batedly throughout the remaining years of a long life. And while to this 

development, other and various men notably contributed, "in no other case 

was found that combination of characteristics force, energy, and capa- 


city for leadership — which carried such an influence" as that of Mason. 
But the important point is that all in all there now appeared in the 
hymn-tune a form of devotional music welcomed by the worshiper and con- 
sistently expre^siv* of the spirit of the Church. Because of the instinct- 
ive religious natures, the musical perceptiveness, the character and the 
well-defined purpose of those constituting the reforming group, musical 
art now served as the apt and helpful complement of religious feeling, 
and the Ghurch received a form of song-worship of reverence and beauty — 
a form which, although inevitably not perfect, resulted nevertheless 
from the aspirations and efforts of men who held perfection as their 
goal, who constantly strove to attain that goal as their ideal. 

To maintain, then, as some at times have maintained, that Lov/ell 
Mason believed that music should not enter the church as an art, is not 
only to disregard his own views on the subject, but is to misconceive 
the philosophy, the aim, and the service of the man. Pertinent are the 
words from the Preface of one of his books ( The Choir , Boston, 1832), 

1. Theodore F. Seward, op. cit. 

I* « ucd, 


urois cxsrit IIjb tti iJLs xxhT ex jxixoq xna 

^etosiBrio exit t aaQ«oviiqeoieq IboI 



as well as those quoted above from the 1826 Address: 

"¥e would not advocate", he writes, "the introduction 
of any music into public worship that approaches to levity, 
or that is profaned by unhallowed associations; but we 
see no reason why we should be obliged to express all the 
various emotions to which piety gives birth, in a slow 
and monotonous style. Why should not the whole resources 
of the art be enlisted in the service of the sanctuary? 
And may not this be done, and yet religious affections 
and not a mere taste for music, be consulted?" 

True, his art was simple — in the fine sense of the term — as 
was, and is, the medium itself through which, chiefly, he expressed him- 
self, namely, the hymn- tune. Yet not unmindful of his limitations, he 
constantly endeavored through study and experience to broaden himself, 
and hence the efficacy of his art. He persevered with a will to make 
the most of that which was granted him, as did the twain in the parable 
of the talents according to St. Matthew. 

But equally true it is that as regards music for the £>hurch he 
did not believe in the undue protrusion of art, in the exercise of aes- 
thetic expression — however skillful such might be — if its purpose 
was musical display rather than the promotion of religious feeling. For 
such to his mind was irrelevant; it was alien to the true office of 
music in the house of God. 

Let us here quote words of his owi on the subject, taken from the 

Hew Englarid Purita n (Juno 19, 1844): 

"Science in church music should never be perceived. 
It should stand in the background, veiled; lending 
its aid in the most unpretending and unostentatious 
manner. The very perfection of art here, is to hide 
itself, and to cause everything to flow on in the 
most natural and simple manner possible. Scientific 
y-r\s of artist ical display in church music, is as absurd 

and as much out of place, as are learned and difficult 
words and sentences in prayer; and the real transcendental 
style is as appropriate to the iatter exercise, as are 

it bib 3£ |£ai 


some of the chromatic and difficult tunes sometimes 
heard, to the former." 

Reference is made, furthermore, in the 1826 Address, to the choir — at 
that time, and until the middle of the century, the prevailing method of 
song in our churches. Considerable also is said anent the organist; espe- 
cially, that "he should be a man of quick sensibility, or he will neither en- 
ter into the spirit of the words sung, nor the other exercises of the day." 
Little did Mason dream, we fancy, when making this statement, that not many 
years later an extraordinary occasion was to arise when both the principle 
and he himself as organist were to be put to the test J Possible disaster, 
however, was fortunately averted, as his own account under the caption 
Abridgment of Hymns f which appeared in The New York Musical Review and Choral 

Advocate , 15 February, 1855, reveals: 

"Allow me to narrate," he writes, "the circumstances 
of the abridgment of a hymn, which came under my own ob- 
servations some years since. The facts, I believe, have 
been before published in your paper; but a short time since I 
happened to be present where the story was told, and it was 
added that it was supposed to be a fiction. Now, I can assure 
your readers that it is authentic, and that it occurrea in 
the Bowdoin .Street church, when the writer was organist and 
conductor of the singing there. It is not remembered who 
the minister was who gave out and directed the abridgment 
of the hymn, but it certainly was not the pastor of the 
church. The hymn was from the Church Psalmody . QThe tune was 
Mason f s Meribah f composed in 18597] The whole hymn was first 
read by the minister, and then, just before the singing 
exercise commenced, the direction was given t 0mit the 
second stanza . f The following are the first three stanzas, 
and the connection between the first and third stanza will 
be seen at a glance: 

'Y/hen thou, my righteous Judge, shall come 
To take tk«$f* ransomed people home, 

Shall I among them stand? 
Shall such a worthless worm as I, 
7/ho sometimes am afraid to die, 

Be found at thy right hand? 

I love to meet thy people now, 
Before thy feet with them to bow, 

Though vilest of them all; 
But, can I bear the piercing thought, 
What if my name should be left out, 

When thou for them shalt call? 

Lord, prevent it by thy grace, 
Be thou my only hiding-place, 

In this th* accepted day; 
Thy pardoning voice ohl let me hear, 
To still my unbelieving fear, 

Nor let me fall, I pray.'** 

The organist did not perceive the fearful connection 
between the first and third stanzas until a moment be- 
fore it was time to commence the latter, when, startled 
and terrified, he cried out, 'Sing the second stanza!' 
just in time to avoid the utterance of the frightful 

It is unquestionably the duty of the choir to follow 
implicitly the directions of the minister in all that 
appertains to the singing in public worship, and the 
habit which prevails in some places of inattention to 
the directions given from the pulpit in relation to the 
abridgment of a hymn, is wholly unjustifiable. But there 
seem to be exceptions to almost all rules, and here was 
an occasion when disobedience to the oral rubric seemed 
to be positively required; indeed, it was a case of life 
or death, and it was impossible to follow it. T .7arm were 
the thanks expressed by members of the congregation after 
the service, for their deliverance from the terrible 
moral collision with which they were threatened." 

1. The hymn was written (circa 1772) by Selina Shirley, Countess of 
Huntingdon, a devout and earnest Christian worker. Of Mason's 
tune Meribah , composed 1839, and for long years associated with 
the hymn, it has been said: " Meribah was inspired by the hymn 
itself, and there is nothing invidious in saying it illustrates 
the fact, memorable inall hymnology, of the natural obligation 
of a hymn to its tune . 7 (See The Story of the Hymns and Tunes , 
by Brown and Butterworth. ) 

Another point in the address, and one second to none in import- 
ance, is in reference to children: "If music be not taught in child- 
hood much progress must not be expected afterwards; children must be 
taught music as they are taught to read. Until something of this kind is 
done, it is in vain to expect any great and lasting improvement". 

Thus he struck at the very pith of the problem, the pivot on which 
reform might f ructifyingly turn, For prior to the utterance of these 
words, singing as a practice among American children was unknown; it 
was not thought to be possible, or even desirable, in truth, to teach 


the young to sing, nor were they credited with the ability to learai 

Here then was the first effective enunciation of that simple yet 
significant truth alluded to in the closing paragraphs of Chapter V; 
here, the seed whence sprang the tree of enlightenment regarding musical 
instruction in America, — the tree whose branches in time would apread 


throughout the land and would seem, so laden with blessings were they 
destined to become, like the branches of the Ygdrasil tree renowned in 
fable; and these, so says the myth, reached to heaven itself. 

Lowell Uason has been called the Father of American Protestant 
Church Music. By general acceptance, as from historical data, the title 
appears to be justly his. He has also been called the Father of 
American Gommon School Musical Instruction, and the reasons for this we 
shall endeavor to trace in pages to follow. A fact to be especially 
noted here, however, is, that the germ from which has been developed 
that department of Public School education now so widely beneficial, 
finds its origin in Mason's address of 1826. 



Chapter X. 

Following the delivery of his address Lowell Mason at once re- 
turned to Savannah, little suspecting the change in his affairs that 
■was so soon to take place as a result of his Boston visit. 

At Savannah, consequently, matters of local interest continued 
to hold his attention, and prominently among these was his relation- 
ship with the Independent Presbyterian Church, at which for several 
years he had been a communicant. This church, as its name implies, 
had been governed from the date of its inauguration, 1756, by its own 
Pastor and Session of Elders, never having held itself subject to the 
General Court, or Presbytery. But several of its members, of whom 
Mason was one, approving no longer of this isolation, now submitted to 
the Pastor and the Church's Session a petition, the purport of which is 
summed up in its first paragraph, reading as follows: 

To the Reverend S. B. Howe, Pastor, and the Session 

of the Independent Church in Savannah, 


The undersigned Members of the Church over which you 
preside, believing that the interests of the Redeemer's 
Kingdom would be promoted by the establishment of a 
Presbyterian Church in this city, respectfully and 
affectionately request, for the purpose of forming such 
a church, a dismission from your body. * " x " * * 

Brethren, we are yours in the bonds of the Gospel. 

Signed George C. Faries 
Edward Coppee 
Lowell Mason 
Joseph Cumming 

Savannah, May 17, 1827. 
This petition being granted, there resulted the organization on 
June 6 next of the First Presbyterian Church of Savannah, as a part of 


the Presbyterian Church of the United States. Three elders were im- 
mediately chosen and installed, Mason being one; a Sunday-School was in- 
stituted with Joseph Gumming, of the petitioning group, for its superin- 
tendent, and with Mason in charge of the Sunday- S chool 1 s music, as of that 
also of the newly organized church. 

But these affiliations proved to be of short duration. For it so 
transpired that a Committee, representing three congregations of Boston, 
presently forwarded a formal communication to Mason inviting him to assume 
charge of music in the three churches, and guaranteeing him, upon his 
acceptance, an income at the rate of two thousand dollars per annum for 
a period of two years. After due deliberation he decided in the affirma- 
tive; and he forthwith removed to Boston (in 1827) with his family. 

These churches, whose combined proposal thus shifted the scene of 
his activities from Savannah to Boston, were the Union Church in Essex 
Street, the Church in Hanover Street, and the Park Street Church, under 
the pastoral care respectively of the Rev. Samuel Green, the Rev. Lyman 
Beecher, D.D., and the latter' s son the Rev» Dr. Edward Beecher. Accord- 
ing to agreement Mason jamediat^ly set to work, the understanding being 
that to each of the churches he would in turn devote six months. 

One of the members of the above mentioned committee was Amasa 
"Winchester, -a-co-f ottnder— in--181§^ — and the then President^of the Handel 
and Haydn Society, Mr. \7inchester, having served for a period of seven 
years as the Society's presiding officer, declined at the annual meeting 
in the autumn of this year (1827). a renominaiion for the Presidency, 
and Lowell Mason, already the organization's musical editor, was elected 
in his stead. The responsibilities incident to the office now afforded 


a fair field to its newly appointed incumbent for the unfolding of a 

137 • 

i ifmiiiJ i in jfri m r-M'jf^ ^ 

pronounced executive ability, test and proof of which speedily followed. 

"Impressed with the necessity of providing more competent solo 

X 1 
singers as a matter of the first importance , writes C.C. Perkins, 

"Mr. Mason, within three weeks after his election, persuaded the board 

of trustees to hire a room furnished with a pianoforte, where he could 

meet and instruct such members as in his judgment were likely to become 

proficient in the art of singing.** 

The new comer filled also, besides the office of President, that 

of Director; and as he occasionally sang a solo part in public perform- 

rtt'A M ' - - 

ance, and continued as the Society's editor of various musical publi- 
cations, he found much, in addition to his other interests, to claim his 
close attention. 

During Mason's first year as President the Society gave four con- 
certs, singing Haydn's Creation , selections from Handel's Messiah and 
Mozart's Requiem. During the second season performances were given of 
Haydn's Mass in B flat and Mozart's Mass in C , while numerous selections 
were sung by members "belonging to the President's solo class . ' Incid- 
entally too the seventh and eighth editions of The Boston Handel and 
Haydn Society Collection of Chu rch Music appeared during this second 
season. With the third year the organization's activities appear to 
have increased considerably, as evidenced by the fact that six concerts 
rather than four were given, while the fourth season was marked alike 
by a continuance of artistic endeavor and by a substantial financial 

1. Se*-, History of the Handel and Haydn Society. 

2. C.C. Perkins, op. cit., p. 99. 


prosperity. For we read, in the History referred to, that the Society's pub- 
lications "prepared by its indefatigable President whose activity was unceas- 
ing" yielded excellent returns, 
he continued 

"In the mean time . his editorial care of the Handel and Haydn Society's pub- 


lications under a new contract, which also proved highly profitable to both 
parties. These collections were not the first books that had been put forth by 
society. Two volumes had been published before fuason and the society had em- 
barked on their joint venture, and in them were included pieces that betray 
the lack of aesthetic culture at that time; for example, an arrangement of 
Zer Una's air, Batti . batti f in 'Don Giovanni,' to the hymn^by Thomas Hast- 
ings Gently f Lord . gently lead us . Nor was Mason altogether a novice, the 
second volume of the [Society 's Old Colony Collection, published about 1820, 
containing his arrangement of a kyrie and a gloria by Mozart to English words, 

— - • J 4~<««11„ 

Notwithstanding the character of the programs, as above noted, "the 
Handel and Haydn Society, in 1827, though the most earnest and ambitious 
in its art longings of all the societies with a musical purpose then 
existing in the United States, had not yet outgrown the practice of 
anthems and other forms of music intended for use in public worship. Then 
as now, its ranks were largely recruited from church choirs of the city, 
without restrictions as to sect; and though exercising a wholesome in- 
fluence on its tributary forces, who were led to select better music to 
sing and to sing it better, it was still under the influence of those 

1. From "Lowell Mason , by Francis H. Jenks, -see-New England Magazine , 
January, 1895. Y<r£S& v^.r 



choirs and the prevailing taste. in music. Its concerts were few and of 
small distinction. With the exception of the 'Messiah*^* »The Creation ,^ 
and these oftener in fragments than complete, the 'Dettingen Te Deum' 
of Handel and 'The Intercession*,' by M. P. King, a composer long since 
forgotten, nothing that could be called a work was offered to the public. 
A cause of this halting, aside from the indifference of the public, was 
the extraordinary attention given to the issue of its compilations of 
sacred music. It is true that this branch of the labors of the society 
was highly profitable, and but for the sale of its publications the 
society would have been deep in debt. Furthermore, the wide circulation 
of these works had been favorable to the development of taste both within 
and without the society. At the same time there was a longing among some 
of the members to do more and better work for the public ear." 

Such were the conditions, in 1827, when Mason took the ■p o - i - n - c . Of 


what was accomplished during his active association with the society we 
have already seen somewhat, but there may be added in further quotation, 
that "He was a strict disciplinarian, and it is fair to assume that the 

society profited musically from his supervision of its rehearsals and 


concerts' 1 ." 

Surely there can be no doubt that in at least one respect "the 
society profited musically" from Mason's supervision, and this is explained 
by the late Arthur Mees in his Choirs and Choral Music, pp 196-7, (Charles 
Scribner's Sons, New York, 1901): 

"In 1817 the chorus of the society consisted of one hundred 
and thirty men and boys, who sang all the four parts, and of 
only twenty women, who assisted the tenors mainly. In the same_ 
year the advisability of officially inviting women to lend their 
help at rehearsals and concerts was favorably considered, though 
not without opposition. The result of this step was at first harm- 
ful, as the women were assigned to the tenor part, which they 
naturally sang an octave too high, thereby creating the most ex- 
cruciating harmonic progressions. Yet this method,, according to 
the testimony of Mr. Perkins, held good until Lowell Mason, 
who acceptea the presidency of the society in 1827, msistea on 
the proper distribution of the voices." 

But to return to the churches. Beginning with that on Hanover Street 

Mason took charge of its music shortly after his arrival in Boston and ^ 

there^sympathetic association with its pastor, Rev. Lyman Beecher, D.D., n 

1. Francis H. Jenks, op. cit. 



tinued for a period of six months, subsequently devoting equal time to the music 

of the Union Church in Essex Street, ss later likewise to that of Park Street. 

Here, at the Park Street Church, on the Fourth of July, 1850, there took place a 

Celebration of American Independence by the Boston abbath School Union . 


stated on the printed Order of Exercises . Under Lowell Mason, who. directed the 
music of the occasion, there occurred one of the earliest instances in this 
country (if not the earliest, indeed,) of group-singing by children in public 
a Juvenile Anthem , "Suffer little children to come unto me." The opening verses 
of the Anthem — Mason's musical setting for which now received its initial hear- 
ing — were given to a single voice in Recitative, these being followed by a 
two-voice chorus, sung by girls and boys who constituted the Juvenile Choir of 
the church, trained and led by the composer. So impressive was the program that 


repetition was requested for the succeeding day." The above-mentioned division 
of activities among the three churches, however, Mason soon believed inadvisable, 
and adopting in 1851 quite a different plan he assumed supervision of music sole- 
ly at the Bowdoin Street Church (which superseded the Church on Hanover Street, 
the latter having been demolished by fire on the morning of 1 February, 1850, and 
its congregation having dispersed from that date until 15 May, 1851) . At Bowdoin 
Street Church he remained until 1844, and in addition to his duties as music-dir- 
ector he served as superintendent of the church's Sabbath-School throughout the • 
thirteen years. In January 1844 he removed to the Central Congregational Church 
(originally the Franklin Street Church) on Winter Street, under the pastorate of 
the Rev. William M. Rogers until 1845, then under that of the Rev. George 
Richards, and here he conducted the service of music until 1851 when, after nearly! 
twenty-five years of service in Boston churches, he withdrew. 

As this new plan failed to yield the financial return originally guaranteed 
him, Mason now accepted a post of teller at the Bank of America, at the suggestion j 
of his friends of the committee. Although ready and eager to devote his full time 

to the furtherance of the cause he so thoroughly believed in, and although he 
i realized the hindrance to his professional activities likely to arise from assum- 
ing this additional char 6 e, no other course for the time being seemed feasibly 

possible. Demands upon his 

1. An original Order of Exercises , a cherished memento of the occasion, lies be- 
fore us as we write — the gift of the late Waldo Selden Pratt, Mus. Doc. This 
bears the following note, immediately above the text of the Anthem: Composed 

e present occasion , by Mr . Mason, and dedicated to " Park Street Juvenile 
Choir V and all Sabbath School Children . 

The Anthem, subsequently published, appears on pp. 69ff . of The Juvenile 
Lyre , by Lowell Mason and E. Ives, Jr. (Carter, Hendee and Co. Boston. 1831) . 


resources were naturally increasing, year by year; besides his own family^ 
he now provided for (as indeed he- did for the balance of their lives) 
Mrs. Mason's widowed mother and her sister. Expenses there were, also, 
in connection with his choir which met two evenings each week, once for 
rehearsal, and once (at his residence, at this time in Chestnut Street, 
Number 49), for social purposes, the latter ending usually with a light 
repast or refreshment of some kind — indication of the enthusiasm and 
genial interest with which he carried on the work. 

During the previous year, 1829, a third son had been born to the 
Masons, on January 24; but the selection of a name for the child appears 
to have been no simple matter! Both Mr. and Mrs. Mason while living in 
Savannah had become exceptionally fond of a young man there by the name 
of William Henry Cumming, and whose father, Joseph Cumming, as we have 
seen, was a co-founder with Mason of the Savannah First Presbyterian 
Church. Mrs. Mason suggested to her husband that they name their child 
William Henry, in honor of their friend. But her husband, preferring 
one given name only, demurred. Mrs. Mason, actuated by the kindliest 
of motives, persisted with her suggestion, until her husband, character- 
istically tenacious of a decision once, good-naturedly but firmly 
remonstrated, saying, "Patience, my dear, patience; we'll name this boy 


William" "And two years later, 10 October 1831, when their fourth and last 
son was born, he was named Henry! 


On 1 October 1829 there appeared a fourth book edited by feson, the 
Juvenile Psalmist . or The Child's Introduction to Sacred faisic (Richardson, 
Lord & Holbrook, Boston). On the flyleaf of a copy once his own, and now be- 
fore us as we write, is the following sentence in Lowell Mason's handwriting: 

This is the first book ever published for 
S. Schools in this country . &, so far as I know, 
in any other. 

As for the purpose of the book, we quote from its Preface these words: 

The design of this little book is to furnish 
children and youth generally, and Sabbath Schools 
especially, with a suitable introduction to Psalm- 

The rudiments of music have been explained in a 
very plain and easy manner, and although brief, they 
are believed to be amply sufficient to enable child- 
ren to read music, and sing understandingly. 

One or two hours in the week devoted to this sub- 
ject would soon render this exercise in Sabbath Schools 
pleasing and profitable, and would also prepare the way 
for a much more appropriate performance of Psalmody in 
public worship. 

General interest in the choirs, especially those of the Bowdoin Street 
Church and the Central Church in Winter Street, increased apace; the choirs 
soon becoming veritable centres of the city's music;- 1 life. By the choir- 
members themselves rehearsals were looked forward to from week to week as 
real "events", not alone in their musical life but in 

1, The third book issued by Lowell Mason was The Choral Harmony . 1828, com- 
prising Anthems, Choruses, etc., a copy of which may be seen at the Yale 
University Library of Music. 

a oho 


their social and spiritual life as well. And many devout persons there were who 
dated "their religious impressions," as wrote the late Dr. Blodgett, "to the choir 
rehearsals of Lowell Masori^"' A unanimity of good will and hearty cooperation, dif- 
ficult in truth to overstate, marked the relationship of member to member, as also 
of members to leader, and leader to members. Friendships were formed there that 
lasted throughout the years; and ties of attachment too which not infrequently 
eventuated in the closest of all ties vouchsafed to men and women. 

Persons in the tranquil twilight of life have written that they looked back to 
these rehearsal-meetings as being among the pleasantest and deepest experiences of 
their early years — experiences full of joy, helpful teaching, and unfading in- 
fluence — memories of which, "slipping back upon the golden days," never dimmed. 
As if with one accord, these letters recall the sympathy, the earnest seriousness, 
playful humor, the wonted dignity and the kindly manner of the choir director; 
while the following expression, in one of the letters, may be taken, in effect, as 
that of several: "He made a man of me, teaching me how to teach myself, to drill 
and discipline myself, giving me habit, method, faithfulness, by which my whole 
life has been made strong and useful and successful." 

With relations so harmonious and with so mutual an understanding, the outcome 
could scarcely have been other than it was — a quality and finish in the music of 
the Protestant Church never previously realized or approximated in this country. 
Pilgrimages were made from near and far to hear the excellent singing. Visiting 
ministers returned to their parishes highly invigorated; and, with an insight as 
to what music could mean to the service, they forthwith stimulated their own chor- 
isters and choirs to better endeavor, descriptions of what they had observed and 
heard serving as an ideal toward which such endeavor should aim. 

1. tide The Place of Music in Public Worship r by Benjamin C. Blodgett, Ivius. Doc. 
(1838-1925). (Beacon Press. Boston. 1886) 

"It cannot but be regarded as an extraordinary exhibition of edu- 


cational power," wrote Theodore F* Seward, "that a man should thus sit 
in his choir gallery and carry a whole nation through a process of musical 

Extraordinary it doubtless was; and all credit to him, to vkom 
credit is due. Yet the field was ready for the plough; its cultivation 

awaited only the able husbandman, for, as Mason himself says, "The cir- 


cumstances were now most favorable for improvements in church Music." 

Several of these circumstances we have already touched upon in re- 
viewing the influences of Billings and his followers; of others, Mason 

spoke as follows: ("The soprano was always lead off, and in a great 


degree sustained, by tenor voices, and a certain number of men were ap- 
pointed to the office of soprano leaders . The women^ I like the old 
Bible word) could not tell when to take up a fugal point, or where to 
carry it, or when it should stop; nor could they strike the difficult or 
easy intervals, with certainty, without aid; but, as in things pertaining 
to common life, where it is right , so in chorus - singing , where it is not 
right , did they look up to men for guidance and support. But this disa- 
greeable effect of a soprano by tenor voices an octave lower than the 
true pitch * * was not appreciated or felt, for there was a lack of 
musical knowledge. 

"Again, the alto of women's voices, now universal, was then unknown. 
No woman sung the alto; such a thing had not been heard of. The alto, 
when there was any, was sung by men's voices; but as there were only 
two or three men xfao attempted to sing this part, its effect was almost 
lost to the chorus. 

"The number of chorus- singers was small in comparison to what it 

1. Op. cit. 

2. From Address of 1851, by Lowell Mason — referring to conditions 
tventj^-f ive years previously. 

41 en 

3£ ,-rot t fffltr , bjxRQ jur 

lis -a in 

now is. The Society ^Handel and HaydnJ included almost all the chorus- 
singers in the town who could read music, and certainly some who could 
not read music, and yet the number of voices seldom exceeded a. hundred. 

Church choirs were still more imperfect; and this with respect to 
their organization, to the adequate number of voices, to the proper 
balance of the parts, and even to the existence of those pcirts; for as 
the alto of women's voices was not known, and as there were but very few 
men who ever attempted to sing the part, it was most generally omitted, 
so that there were often but three parts, and sometimes but two attempted 
in a chorus. 

"The treble in the church choirs, as in the Handel and Haydn Society, 
was sung in whole or in part by men's voices, and the tenor was often 
sung by women's voices, thus inverting the order of nature, and separat- 
ing, by two full octaves, those who were made to go hand in hand, help- 
meets for one another, in chorus form, as in domestic life. * * * * 

"The condition of church music presents a very different appearance 
at the present day from what it did twenty-five years ago (jL. e. in 
1826}, in respect to accompaniment. The accompaniment then, in most 
churches, was that of single- stringed or wind instruments. The Episcopal, 
and several of the Unitarian churches, had organs. The Old South con- 
gregation, too, had procured their fine, large instrument; but, with this 
exception, there was no organ in the Orthodox Congregational, Baptist, 
1'ethodist, Universalist, or other churches. Nor was the pianoforte, as 
an instrument for the aid of choir-practice, then known, not a single 
vestry being furnished with the instrument now common to almost all, and 
regarded as an almost necessary piece of church furniture. 

"Again, with respect to the singing at social religious meetings, 
in the lecture-room or vestry, the change has not only been great but 





highly satisfactory; for at the time to which we refer, it was common on 
such occasions to attempt a choir performance. I have seen some eight 
or ten persons rise when the hymn was given out, and with pitch-pipe or 
tuning-fork and singing-books in hand, attempt what might be in truth re- 
garded as the burlesque choral service of a social religious meeting. 
Happily, and mark these words, the singing on all such occasions has now 
become congregational; and I cannot but add, happy will it be, when to 
a much greater extent than at present, in connection with a choir, this 
good old form of the service of song shall be renewed, and prevail in the 
more dignified and formal assembly for public worship on the Sabbath. Then 
will Church Music arise in her strength and beauty, when all the people 
shall open their mouths and speak forth the gratitude of their hearts 
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs unto the Lord. 

"There has been another change, perhaps greater than all; which, 
though it be less directly connected with church music, must not be 
omitted. I refer to music among children. * * * On this subject I 
feel particularly interested; and as I think I may humbly claim to be, 
in some sense, the father of singing among the children in this country, 
I may be permitted briefly to touch upon a few of the leading points in 
its history. 

"Knowing by experience the value of an alto of children's voices 
in a church choir, and finding that this part was not usually sung or 
even attempted in the Boston choirs, it became an immediate object to 
train a class of boys and girls for it. Hence the first children's sing- 
ing-school. And with the exception of the teaching a few children the 
elements of music in connection with writing, in the writing academy 
of Mr. H. D, Gould, in Franklin Street, and the few Jenny Lind, bird-like 


children who occasionally found their way into the adult singing-schools, 
these were the first efforts in children's music. The class did not at 
first consist of more than six or eight, but these acted at once volun- 
tarily as missionaries; and the increase was rapid, until the room was 
filled. This class, which afterwards, in a large place, increased to 
five or six hundred, was continued gratuitously for six or eight years, 
or until it was taken up by the Boston Academy of Music by which society 
it was sustained until music was introduced into the grammar schools of 
the city." 

Difficult it is to realize that conditions so awry ever dominated 
and hedged the musical activity of the country; yet such they once were 
and such was the status of affairs that led to the observation "the 
circumstances were now most favorable for improvement in church music." 
But the husbandman, furthermore, was at hand, and with a vim did he set 
to work in that most arable of fields. For a period of forty years or 
more from this time on the industry of Lowell Mason was extraordinary. 
He produced collections of church-music, juvenile and school song-books, 
books of glees and part-songs, vocal duets and trios, hymn-tunes, anthems, 
chants, text-books, vocal exercises and charts of instruction; articles 
and essays , contributed to magazines and newspapers; and all the while 
he was indefatigable in teaching, addressing educational bodies and con- 
ventions, normal schools, and church societies; declaring with prescience 
and discernment new ideas and conceptions which he forthwith proceeded 
to work out to practical, successful issue; aiding and encouraging 
others in their problems and undertakings, and through it all never 
swerving by jot or tittle from that standard which, in accordance With 
his light, he conceived to be the highest and best, llever, moreover, 


did he permit a publication to leave the press hastily, revising with 
care and patience a "final" proof again and again. Literally he seems 
to have knoTOi neither fatigue nor temporary disinclination to work. 

And yet the explanation is not far to seek, for his work was the 
outcome of a deep religious conviction, of a profoundly-felt personal 
experience of God through Jesus Christ. He whole-heartedly believed in 
the counsel of the Apostle Paul, "whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory 
of God,"« and, likewise, in the precept of our Lord as given in the 
Johannine Gospel: u We must work the works of him that sent me, while it 
is day ; the night cometh , when no man can work. 55 

Through his music, his teaching, his life, Lowell Mason reverently, 

consistently strove to serve the cause of the Master, to carry to all 

the "Glad Tidings" of Him who is the Way , the Truth , and the Life . His 

work by its very nature continually developed and expanded in scope and 

significance; it led him more and more into close association with men 

and v,omen, youths and maidens and — best of all — little children, all 

of whose minds and hearts he sought to brighten and ennoble; a work it 

was that flowered into an education for others — and necessarily for 

himself too — into a school at which he was pupil as well as teacher, 

the most vital of all schools, in truth, the school of human nature — 


of the welfare, aspirations and progress of one's fellow-beings. "Do 
you know", asks Unerson, "the secret of the true scholar? In every man 
there is something wherein I may learn of him; and in that I am his 

"Lowell Mason", as has been said of him, "was a born educator. 
He educated the American people out of a false and into a true style 
of sacred music, and demonstrated to them the two great correlated 
truths that music is a universal gift and that childhood is the proper 

1 146 
period for cultivating it;" and, as anotner has said, "it was the fact that he 

was teachable himself that fitted him to be a teacher of others; never too 


young to teach, never too old to learn." 

His published volumes, beginning in 18EE with The Handel and haydn Society 

Collection of Church Musi c and ending in 1869 with The American Tune Book (vari 

ous of which were in collaboration with other men), totaled one hunared and 

more, comprising both sacred and secular music, books of secular school songs 

for children (including the first of the kind published in this country) and 

books for adults, glee and part-song collections, Musical Letters from 

Abroad (a. volume of cherm and information, offering much of interest to this 

day), and an edition (in English) of Catel's A Treatise on Harmony ; during 

these years, moreover, he produced upwards of eleven hundred hymn- tunes — the 

majority of which were original, the balance being harmonizations of melodies 

culled from manifold sources; and, as has been stated, anthems, motets, chants, 

sentences, canons, duets, trios, rounds and madrigals; while during the period 

1855-1856 he editea and published, with George J. Webb, a periodical, The Rrusi - 

cal Library . Truly, of him it may be said, as John V : esley once wrote his bro- 
ther Samuel: "Leisure and I have taken leave of one another." 

Of his ceaseless activity, the following item from The Boston Evening Trans - 
cript (July 14, 1854) is descriptive: 

"Besides editing, Mr. Mason has always been extensively 
engaged in lecturing and teaching, and how he has ever got 
through with all his work is a mystery. I have been informed 
that it has always been his practice to rise about eight o'clock 
and go down to breakfast, where there would be a batch of music 
proof, which he would examine and correct 

1. Theodore F. Seward, op. cit. 

2. From a Sermon, commemorative of Dr . Lowell Lias on . by the Rev. George B. 
Bacon, D. D., 1872. 

5. The Musical Quarterly (G. Schirmer, Inc., New York) for April, 1940, con- 
tains a historically interesting article, by H. Earle Johnson, entitled 
"Early New England Periodicals Devoted to Music." 

id &sd& &o&1 add" a^w &l" ,blae aaa lauioa* aa t b*x " \&1 anXJavIJIjjo icl boX-xaq 
oo,t i9van ^aiarl^c lo isrioflsi' a 9d at inxa ba^l'l IXaemxd eXdadoagj" eaw 

".niBsX of bio ooi levari t doaeJ o3 gox/ov, 

^Selooc xxbYAi bo£ Xaoa-sri" adT ddxw S36I nl aoxanlsad t a&au/Iov oariaxldi/q eXH 
usv) apod 3guT £u?0xi9iaA adT atiw 6cJdI ai gaxbae oob oxsidt domaO lo floiJ-oaxXoO 
baa beiijnx/d aao balaj-o^ t (neai isdJo dJ-lw aoi-ttfiodalloo ox e-iaw doxdw lo ai/o 
3§no8 Xoodoa 13X0093 lo 8.hooq 1 oXaj/iir TaXifOoB baa oaioaa d<tod j^aX s» X 'i quo < 9*1001 
boa (y/iJojjod axd,t oX badaxlduq boXi add lo Jaixi and "gnXbuXonx) aeiolxdo nol 
moil ais.tJaJ X a ox an?. ? ^anoXJosXIoo jjaoa-J-iaq baa 93X3 jc.i'XXvba •xol'tiood 
iin& o& Seen) fni '10 nr>tfia ^iXia'tio t acXJaajiolaI ban axado lo 9jujXov a) bap id A 
gnxifjb ; YflQ^iaH 110 aaXdaai'f ^ e'XadaO lo (riaXIgoli ax) aoXdxbe aa baa t(Y,ab 
idi — aeoud-aaivri beibaud n9V9l9 lo abxswqi/ beouboiq 9ri t iavo9iOK «aissx aaedJ- 
39x00X910 lo auoIdasXaoiaiad "galad eonaXad edd «Xaax%>Iic eiew rioxaw lo v^Iio^am 
sda-^rio «aJ"ad , oin t eflien.tfta t betH$z need sad as t boa ja^oTu/oa bIolxa»aiii moil bsXXx/o 
x>Iiaq adJ - %a±HJb 9lxdw ;aXsaXioaM baa ahoxroi t aoXiJ <adaub ,aoooao t a9oaa«taee 
taift.. aaT t XBoXbol-i9q a ^ddgSf .1 ajjioeO dd"Xw ,bedalldjjq boa oedlbe «d d58X-co8X 
-cid aid adoiw 9oao v^Xea^ arioL aa t bXsa so \»ta il niXn 1c <\ItfiT . yiaidxU Xao 
".•xedJ-ooH ano lo gvael nsaLaj- evad I boa eii/alad" :Iei/iaa2 ie:L+ 
- agar ? ^aiflav5 godaofl adT moil aadX §oiwoIXol 9di ,^XvXXoa aaaleaaao aid 10 

: avi jqlioeao ai (£goI ^mXto 
*^X9vXari9J"xa n99d axawXs a^d aoaaM ."d^ t goXvIL>9 aablaaa" t 

olaum lo do^ ad a ed bXxiow giedJ' eiadw , J'aal^Laa'xo o^+ awob og baa 

.9 agioaO .vail 9d^ yd f aoaa, M XX9woJ .tQ lo evij'g'iOineffiftop ^ aoiniao a ascf? 

b9^ov9Q aXaoi 



•while breakfasting. At nine o'clock his teaching 
and other public labors would begin, and continue 
until dinner time. After dinner he would again 
engage in teaching, lecturing or other business; 
and at tea there would be more proof to be examined 
and corrected. After tea he would give a lesson 
in music to some class or to his choir, unless 
otherwise engaged, and then return home and work 
until midnight, and often until two o'clock in the 
morning. It is said that for twenty years he never 
■was known to spend even half a day in mere amusement. 
It is thus that Mr, Mason has been enabled to write 
fifty [sic\ works, instruct thousands in music, 
lecture far and wide, travel over the United States 
and Europe, amass a splendid fortune, and give away 
another fortune, — for his industry is only equalled 
by his benevolence." 

In his determination to improve the singing of his choir a.t the 

Bowdoin Street Church, and by this means to advance the standard of church 

music generally, Mason took advantage of every available opportunity. 

Learning of a fine voice, distant though it might be, he lost no time in 

endeavoring to obtain it for his choir. On one such occasion, being told 

by his friend, Mr, George William Gordon (member of the committee at 

whose suggestion he had removed to Boston), of a young lady who possessed 

a pure soprano voice of surpassing beauty, he asked that he might meet 

her. Forthwith, in company wxth Mr, Gordon, he journeyed to Exexer, New 

Hampshire, to call upon the young singer and her parents. So pleased 

was Mason with the voice, and with its possessor too, that he invited the 

latter to become a member of his household, there to make her home for 


one year, offering to place her for that period in the Mount Vernon School 
(at which he was then teacher of music) if she in turn would join his 
choir. To this both she and her parents agreed. 

1. The Mount Vernon School for Young Ladies was presided over by its 
founder, the Rev. Jacob Abbott (1803-79), of whom more is said in 
later pages. 


Choir rehearsals at the time were held at the Mason residence and 

there the young lady, whose gratitude never waned for the advantages 
thus received, assisted the host and hostess in entertaining the choir- 
members at the close of rehearsals, charming one and all by her cordial 
manner and by her lovely voice — as she sang, with other songs, Mason's 
tune Folsom, (1832) named in her honor, and adapted, with its melody from 
Mozart, to the hymn by Bishop Heber, beginning: 

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning, 
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us Thine; 
Star of the East, the horizon adorning, 
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid. 

And then there was the alto part — that hitherto had been sus- 
tained by men's voices. This must be attended to without delay. 

Realizing the signal fitness of certain youthful voices for the part, 
and in his efforts to secure for his choir a better tonal balance, Mason 
now undertook the systematic ■ instruction of children. 

Beginning at his home, as he has told us, with six or eight boys 
and girls — "the first children's singing- school" — he taught them to 
read music, thus enabling them to hold their own in combination with 
voices of counter parts. And though from this small beginning there 
evolved not long afterward a class of several hundred, it is in the 
original nucleus that is to be found the germ, previously alluded to, 
of Public School Musical Instruction. 

As members of this class advanced in proficiency they took their 
places as members in the church choir, thus contributing to the 

1. Miss Anne Rowland Folsom, then (1832) twenty-one years of age. The 
following year she was married to Asher G. Palmer, member of the 
bass- section of the choir, and brother of the Rev. Ray Palmer. Their 
second child, Helen Augusta Palmer (1836-1905), became the wife in 
1857 of the Masons' youngest son, Henry (1831-90). 



excellent singing of the latter by successfully maintaining the alto 


part, while they thereby delivered furthermore "the fir 8% telling blow 
to public skepticism as regards the possibility of teaching music to 

In this class, too, lay the seed from which sprang the Boston 
Academy of Music , founded at Mason* s suggestion and organized in 
accordance with his ideas — an institution destined to accomplish 
important results as to the promotion of music and musical education, 
and, above all, in the introduction of music as a branch of study in 
the public schools of Boston — and thus of America. 

It is true that this last result was achieved in the name of the 

Boston Academy ; but to this circumstance is attributable a certain con- 


fusion of idea as to its exact source. Further quotation from 


Seward will help to clarify the historical facts. 

"YJe have here", he writes, "the reason why Dr. Mason's part in the 
introduction of music into the Boston schools has been partially lost 
sight of. All that was done hereafter was done in the name of the 
Boston Academy of Music. Just as his first book of sacred music was 
presented as the work of the Handel and Haydn Society, so were his 
labors now performed in the name of the new organ iza.tion. As the 
Handel and Haydn Society' s Collection of Sacre^ ^^ Music was wholly 
Dr. Mason's work in its conception, plan and execut'ion, so was the 
Boston Academy a living embodiment of his ideas and his labors. In 
a word, he surrendered his identity, or allowed it, for the public good, 
to be absorbed in this society of citizens. It was a wise a.nd sagacious 
plan. It undoubtedly did much to promote the cause of music not only 
in Boston, but throughout the whole country. Yet it should not be 
allowed in history to obscure the commanding personality of his work. 


a 'rrnr* 


Without Dr. Lowell I .a son, the Boston Academy of Music would never bad 
p-ny existence, and what the Academy did, musically, is what Dr. Mason 
did, except as other musicians were afterward associated with him, to 
whom credit was given. It is necessary to make this point especially 
clear, as the reports of the Academy are studiously worded (as in the 
introduction to the Handel and Haydn Society' s Collection ) in such a way 
as to convey the impression that the organization was first and Dr. 
Mason second." 

In order to carry his point, however, Mason was obliged to prove 
that child, red. could grasp the meaning of staves and notes, that no long- 
er should a page of music be as unintelligible to them as an Ogham in- 
scription; and these things he convincingly demonstrated by means of 
his class of children, originally formed for the betterment and develop- 
ment of his choir. 

Chapter XI. 

The sensitive understanding vith which Mason's pupils received his 
suggestions for improvement and the promptness with which they put into 
effect his instructions proved to be invaluable in the attainment of his 
two-fold purpose — the accomplishment of better singing, and the produc- 
tion of better music to sing. 

A desire for better music and setter singing became evident, too, 
in numerous towns and cixies other than Boston for, as already stated, 
the singing of the Boston choir speedily aroused a spirit of emulation on 
the part of many choir-members and choristers, distajnt as well as nearby. 

Stimulated by the growing demand for a suitable music, Mason now 

composed with firmer grasp and readier resourcefulness than at any 

previous period, producing sacred and secular songs for children, music 

for Church and Sunday School, end works of various forms. He was now 
in the prime of early manhood; the clarity of his full blue eye bespoke 
directness and penetration of thought; its largeness, vigor and activity, 
as that of the ear signified abounding good nature. His sturdy physique — 

he was little below the average height but broad of shoulder and thick- set — 

A ^enasandinff timxte he we 

gave assurance of steadfastness and power; his forehead and generous ex- 
panse from eye to eye belying not a liberality of view-point, nor the 
firmness and definite line of the lips (happily brightened by an upward 
turn at the corners) a tenacity of purpose, or the vanning graces of a 
sense of humor and a love of fun. Strong in his likes and dislikes, he 
tried, I believe, to be fair and just; and if, with advancing years, 
a certain irritability over trifles asserted itself may not this have been 


aggravated, or occasioned, indeed, by that insolent foe to calmness of 
temper - the gout - which, with more or less frequency in his later years, 
held him captive? But even so, his sense of humor failed him not, and in > 
writing to a friend he subscribed himself "Old UTm Difficulty Troublesome 

With a voice of winning modulation it his won't to speak softly, 
yet at all times distinctly; and if when pleased or amused he seldom 
laughed loudly, it was none the less heartily, for his laugh, similar to 
that of Teuf elsdrdckh, was "not of the face and diaphram only, but of the 
whole man from head to heel.". Force of character and innate sagacity 
found expression in the prominence of his nose, likewise determination and 
strength of will-power in the cast of jaw. An abundance of hair, brushed 
backward from the brow and crowning a natural openness of countenance, fell 
loosely about his head in waves, handsome and free, like billows tossing 
pell-mell in the wind, and significant withal of the nature of the man,— 


his attitude of independence at times toward some generally accepted dic- 
tum of convention, some currently-unquestioned vise of custom, or habit* 
And if, as to its color, a rich native brown gave way by degrees to an 
age- betokening whiteness, yet as for its growth his hair retained to the 
last an uncommon luxuriance. 

A commanding figure he was — the embodiment of poise, dignity, and 
kindliness, too, for the basic qualities of his character were bodied 
forth in his hs aring and outward appearance. An appeal he made to the 
best in human nature, even as he himself strove to live in accordance 
with that best, and there emanated from his personality an influence of 
goodwill that tended to draw men to him, inclining them the more quickly 
and confidently to trust in him. 

In the preparation of his mujsic for thefchurch, Lowell La son was 



guided from the first by two definite principles: one, it should be 
characterized by simplicity, that ell might join in the sinking; its 
melody should be unhampered by lengthy intervals, and limited as to range, 
but at the same time tuneful and readily flowing; its harmony, though 
grammatically correct, should be unlabored, spontaneous and, like the 
melody, simple and musically natural. Secondly, the music as a whole 
should be conceived so far as possible in the spirit of the verses, or 
text, which} as a setting, it was intended to serve — there should exist 
a congruity of feeling between the two, the one being the complement of 
the other. And above all, never should the music, through either its 
subject or treatment draw undue attention to itself, never should it seek 
as its chief end sensuous grstif ication, but through its emotional appeal 
the reinforcement rather of the content of the text, the spirit of thanks- 
giving, praise, or worship, of which the words were the written sign. 

As to the validity of these principles, most persons will doubtless 
agree; but to expect that the application of the principles should be 
equally-well illustrated in all of Mason's music — particularly his 
numerous hymn-tunes — would be to expect too much, since a man's strength 
may become at times his weakness. As a disregard of formula tends toward 
unbridled meretriciousness, so an over-rigid adherence to formula may 
impair a work as regards charm and efficaciousness; and if through loyalty 
to the cherished criteria Mason now and again went to an extreme, pro- 
ducing certain hymn-tunes that proved to be but short-lived, the fault 
lay not so much in the principles as in his employment of them. In later 
years he recognized thst he had erred at times in this way. 

But proof of the soundness of the principles is not wanting; for 
in accordance therewith results were obtained notably contributing to 
an improved and appropriate type of church music — results that aided 


in effectuating a just appreciation and understanding of music's proper 
place in the Ghurch. 

Lowell llason's work was in the best sense of the term a popular 
work. Believing the chief value of music to be an art value, though 
realizing its other values as well, he maintained that in order to be 
widely regenerative in human life music must be the medium of expression 
for the many, that only the worthy and universal in music could make the 
proper sort of appeal, and that this consisted in raising the plane of 
the subjective feeling both of the individual and of the group. Aiming 
therefore to give the people not what they might most desire but that 
which in his judgment it was best they should have, he cared less for 
gratifying their undeveloped taste than for leading them on to an im- 
proved and better taste. Happy to relate, he lived to see accepted, as 
jrears went by, that which at first had been repulsed, that for the pro- 
mulgation of which he had met opposition, denunciation and derision — 
though firm in his own belief that the course he pursued was tha one 
of true progress. Indeed, in the very choosing of such course we see 
revealed the motives and purposes of his life. For an alternative course, 
although less arduous and of greater material profit to himself, would 
have been fatal to the cause of advance. In holding fast to his ideals, 
in not yielding or "writing- down" to the crude prevailing taste, he 
initiated the people into a new, advanced conception of taste; and he 
plainly, encouragingly made manifest that the way of deliverance, here as 
elsewhere, lay through education. 

"It is not the age which leads," says Carlyle, "but the individual." 
Time and again, through indomitable faith has the individual led the 


work of beneficial change. So wrought Jeanne d'Arc, ingenuous spirit 
of unconquerable faith, for her hapless people, L'artin Luther for his, 
and David for the people of Israel; Christopher Columbus, "royalist 
Sea-king of all*," through unfaltering faith in a scientific theory 
turned doubt to certainty, bestowing incalculable advantage upon man- 
kind; the faith of Abraham Lincoln, unshaken by harangue and abuse, 
brought light and order out of darkness and chaos, while to the world at 
large is given the message of messages, "According to your faith be 
it unto you 

Lowell Mason's faith in music was firm and inviolate; so too his 
faith in the potential musical, capability of the people. But with con- 
viction equally firm he believed that the people stood in need of guid- 
ance; that to promote proper growth, a solid intelligent foundation was 
necessary first of all; that a desire for good music once awakened must 
be encouraged and that an appreciation of its real significance and 
relation to life must be clearly perceived and understood. 

Such were of the ends for which he labored. His love for children — 
and their love for him — was no less touchingly beautiful than helpfully 
important in the successful is^u-e of his undertakings. Once earliest 
groundwork was rightly established, advance, surely even if slowly, would 
follow; barriers, certainly to be encountered, would just as certainly 
be overcome — since the first step, the basis itself was thorough and 

Many of Mason's hymn-tunes, including several of those best-knovjn 
today, date from the decade beginning with the year of his arrival in 
Boston, 1827, and particularly from the years 1830 and 1832. To the 
former, or 1830, belong the spirited tune Laban , written for that hymn 

to bn 


of Christian steadfastness and warning by the Rev. George Heath (1745- 
1822) and opening with the verses: 

I.'y souli be on thjy guard ; 

Ten thou s and foes arise : 
The hosts of sin are pressing hard 

To draw \hee f roin the skies ; 
1 " 

and Rockingham, set to the hymn My_ dear Redeemer , and my Lord — called 

by YTatts, its author, in his Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1707), The 


Example of Christ ; and the tune Watchman (also called Horning Star ) , 
of dignity and vigor, for the ringing Missionary, faster, or Christmas 
hymn (written in 1825) by Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), with its strophic 
and anti-strophic verses (based on Isaiah XXI, II), beginning: 

Watchman , tell us of the night , 

Y/hat its signs of promise are ! 
Trav'ler , on yon mountain height . 

See that glory - beaming star ! 

Dating from the year 1830 also are the tune Hebron , written for 
Isaac watts' An Evening Hymn and of which Dr. George F. Root (in The 
Story of a Musical Life ) has said: "Nothing before, so heavenly, had 

1. "The first really skillful tune-writer in America was Lowell Mason, 

who had made diligent study of^uropean models as far as then access- 
ible. He was sensitive to t h - ic feature of line-pattern end experi- 
mented with many forms. It is curious that his rather favorite pat- 
tern (as shown, for example, in his^Rockingham 1 ) is identical With 
that found altogether about a hundred times in the French Psalter, 
'".nether or not this striking innovation upon traditional English 
usage was based on a knowledge of its French source I do not know." 
See The Significance of the Old French Psalter , ^33j^y Professor 
v .aldo Selden Pratt, Mus. D.j pub. by The Hymn Society, >je>u»M**4C. 

2. "Some are yet living xfao may remember how much the interest of the 
United Monthly Concert in Park-Street Church was increased, on the 
first Monday evening of January, 1830, by the choir under the direct- 
ion of Lowell Mason, when, at the close of a statement by Mr. 
{the Rev. Rufus] Anderson, they sang the hymn: 

Matchman , tell us of the night , 
V.nat its signs of promise are , 
in the well-known strains, then recently composed by Dr. Mason, and 
for the first time heard in public." From Memorirl Volume of the Fir 
Fifty Years of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign 

1 issions , (p. 354), pub. Boston, 1863. 


been heard as the melody to Thus far the Lord hath led me on ; " and the tune Zebu- 
Ion , for the penitential lyric of the Rev. -James Boden (1757-1841) beginning. Ye 


dying sons of men ; and v esley , originally named Hail to the brightness , from the 
opening verse of the missionary stanzas, by the Rev. Dr. Thomas Hastings, for v;hich 
it was composed: 

Kail to the brightness of Zion 1 : - ' - _ ■ 

is th< s have 

and Cowper , too, so-called in memory of the poet William Cowper (1751-1800), v;hose 
''virtues formed the magic of his song," as a setting for his hymn of reliant hope- 
fulness, beginning: 

There is a fountain filled with blood 
r • . " ' 

also the tune Grafton , for the verses expressive of devotional love^by the saintly 

Anne Steele (1716-1773), 

How oft , alas , this wretched h eart 
He s wandered from the Lord ! 

Three additions 1 tunes of 1850 are Haverhill , for Dr. PhiL/ip Doddridge's verses 

of reassuring confidence and tender beauty, 

How gentle God's cormands I 

_ ' .... I 

. ___ u ; 

Uxbridge , in the spirit of a Gregorian chant, written for Watts' hymn based on 
verses from Psalm III, 

V V_ gj Vj 

In , r . .. wj 

and Qlney . as a setting for the Rev. Henry U. Onderdonk's hymn based on Rev. XXII, 
17-20, The Spirit in our hearts . 

In addition to the above, two arrangements or harmonizations of melodies date frcm 
the same year: Azmon , an arrangement of a theme by C. C. Glaser (1754-18S9) for a 
hymn by ratts, with its first line 

1. Lesley we s first published in Spiritual Songs f or . oci- 1 ' orshi^ . by Thomas 

Hastings and Lowell Mason, 183£. The meter of the hymn by Hastings (dactylic vith 
!ls & 10s) is identical with that of Reginald Keber's familiar hri ihte.r and beet 
of the sons of the morning first published in the Christian Observer in 1811, and 
which in that year originally introduced the meter into hymnody. 
"esley has been called, also, yision , "nd c'rlvation . 


,: r. 

Come , let us lift our .joyful eyes ; and Ward, (previously mentioned, p. 

•with its Scotch air, for Dr. Doddridge's fervent avowal: 

hanpy day , that fixed ny choice 
On Thee , ray Savior -nd ny God . 

Of various hymn-tunes dating from 1332 one is Bo vision* sung, as 

various tunes are, to different hymns, though oftenest perhaps to the 

Rev. John Fawcett* s familiar verses, warm in brotherly love: 

i Blest be the tie that binds 
Our hearts in Christian love : 
The fellor/ship of kindred minds 
Is like to that above . 

A second is Port , set to the patriotic hymn by Siegfried August 

Hahlmann (1771-1826), 

God bless our native land; 

'irm may she ever stand 

Through storm and night j 

while another is Dovns , for -'illi^m Cowper's 

God ir.oves i i mysterious •/.■ay . 
Several arrangements ^lso date from 1852, one being Geneva , a har- 
monization of a German air, ?nd bitten es a setting for Joseph Addison's 
hymn "inspired by devotional gratitude", so it is said, "for his provi- 
dential escape from shipwreck during a storm off the coast of Geneva":" 

1. John Fewcett, D. D. (1753-1817), converted by the preaching of George 
Wflit field, first joined the Methodists, though later he wr.s ordained as 
a Baptist with a parish at Wainsgate^ Endland. In 1772 he accepted a 
call from London; but at the eleventh hour, his chattels naving been 
packed for removal, the love of his people in their f; re- ells so moved 
him that he cried out: "I willjstay — unpack my goods and we will live 
for the Lord lovingly together" /'Of this experience his well-known 
hymn jjas born. 

2. Two hymn-tunes bearing the name Geneve are credited to Lowell Mason; 
one, the prrcngement here mentioned, first publishea in Congregational 
Church ?-?usic (London, 1855), and the second, original with Mason, com- 
posed in 1852. See p. 242, The Psaltery (Boston, 1845). 

5. S\e Favorit "yr.ns ana Taeir Authors . by T " . Roi ena Edgerton (Pitt afield, 
Massachusetts . 1907) . 



- hen 11 Thy mercies , EL God , 

; 1 ] ~ "1> 5U^A^>^p^ 

'rrns ported vith the view , I ' m lost 
r , love , : 

and Qli phant (named in honor of one of two leading sopronos of ' ason's 

choir at the ""inter Street Church — Trs. Kenry D. Oliphant, the possessor 

of an uncommonly beautiful voice and whose friendship Mason treasured 

through life), n arrangement of a tune by Pierre VI, F. deS. Balllot 

and set to a hymn by the Pev. ''illian "illiams (I717-17c;l) — known as the 

"Watts of 'Vales " — beginning: 

._, _ 7 t iv u . 

A third 1332 arrangement is Ijarlow, based on a melody by the Rev. John 

Chetham (1718- ) and set to the hymn by ir 'atts, the first verse of which 

is : 

.i-th songs i c i 

while a fourth is Nashville , written vith Gregorian feeling and for Watts 1 , 

_L the volumes of Thy word . 

Doubtless one of the best-known and best-beloved of all Ijason's origi- 
nal hymn-tunes is Olivet , first published in 1852 (in Spiritual Songs f or 
Social T ' r orship , by Hastings and ! 'ason), though composed toward the close of 
1851. Olivet is universally associated with, as indeed it was composed for, 


the Rev. Ray Palmer's hymn of prayer and triumphant reliance, 

faith looks u£ to Thee . 
Thou Lamb of Calvary . 

Saviour divine : 
^ov' hear me while I pray . 
Take all my guilt away . 
let me from this day 

Be wholly Thine I 

The following account taken from Recollections of a Long Life , an 
Autobiography (1SC2), by the-ie^ Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler (1822-1309), tells 
of the writing of both hymn and tune: 

By common consent in all American hymnology the 
hymn commencing, My faith looks up. to Thee. Thou Lamb 
of Calvary, etc., is the best. Its author, Dr. Ray 
Palmer, when a young man, teaching in a school for 
girls in New York, one day sat down in his room and 
wrote in his pocket memorandum book the four versos 
which he told me "were born of my own soul," and put 
the memorandum book back into his vest pocket and^for 
two years carried the" verses there, little dreaming that 
he was carrying his own passport to immortality. Dr. Low- 
ellj&son, the celebrated composer of Boston, asked him 
to furnish a new hymn for his next volume of "Spiritual 
Songs," for social worship, and young Palmer drew out the 
four verses from his pocket. Hasan composed for them the 
noble tune "Olivet," and to that air they were wedded for 
evermore. He met Palmer afterwards, and said to him: "Sir, 
you may live many years, and do many good things, but I 
think you will be best known to posterity as the author 
of ":.y faith looks up to Thee. 1 " The prediction proved 
true. His devoted heart flowed out in that matchless lil , 
that has filled so many hearts and sanctuaries with its 
rich fragrance. 

In 1853 :,ason composed Mount Vernon., for the ayrnn by the Kev. Samuel 
Francis Smith, D. D. (1808-95) : 

1. The original manuscript of the hymn is still extant (1342 7 ) . It is in the 
possession of tr.e widow of the late Rev. Frank Herbert Palmer, a nephew of 
the author. Written in longhand beside the hymn is the following note: 

u Tn iV s r ie Original copy of the hymn "My frith looks up to Thee" in 
i.r. Palmer's handwriting — the copy he gave to me, with five other pieces 
also. Lowell Mason 

May, 1861. 

Given me, I think, about twenty years ago. Six in all. 

t 99rfT ol SUL gflf 



Sister , thou wast mild end lovely 

Gentle as the summe r breeze, 
Pleasant as the air of evening , 

When it floats among the trees . 

Peaceful be thy silent slumber , — 
Peaceful in the grave so low : 

Thou no more wilt .join our number ; 
Thou no mo re our sons shalt know . 

Dearest sister , thou hast le ft us, 
Here thy loss we deeply feel ; 

But 'tis God that hath bereft us . 
He all our sorrows heal . 

Yet again we hope to meet thee 
when the day of life is fled ; 

Then , in heaven , with .joy to greet thee , 
Where no farewell tear is shed. 

In many collections of church tunes containing Fount Vernon , there 

appeared in former years the following accompanying note: "Originally 

Written on the occasion of the death of a young lady, a member of Mount 

Vernon School, of Boston." 


The young lady had been a member of reason's vocal class at the 
Rev. Jacob Abbott's School, and likewise of his choir at the Bowdoin 
Street Church. She was no less gifted than popular. L'ason deeply felt 
her death. As the sad news was told him just as he was leaving his house, 
(then on Myrtle Street) for the morning lesson of his singing- class, the 

1. Miss iilartha Jane Crockett (1817-55), daughter of . tho - lato George 8f. 
Crockett (1789-1859), President for years of the Bank of North Ameri- 
ca, Boston, and organist likewise of the Bowdoin Street Church. In an 
1854 edition of Lowell Mason f s The Choir is a tune named Mount Auburn , 
to which is attached an explanatory note: "This tune was written by a 
young lady, a pupil of the editor, who died on the 15th of July, 1855, 
aged 16 years. A short time before her death, and while in good health, 
she selected these words and composed the music for them. The family of 
the deceased, at the request of the editor, have kindly consented to its 
publication in The Choir." And beside the name of the tune are the ini- 
tials "BT. J. C." — Martha Jane Crockett. 


words of Dr. Smith's hymn came immediately to his mind, and with them 
a melody from which he composed the tune Mount Vernon , completing the 
closing phrase as he entered the class-room. At the beginning of the 
lesson he wrote on a blackboard a series of musical phrases, each con- 
sisting of a melody simply harmonized. Toward the lesson's close he 
combined the different passages which the pupils had sung separately as 
exercises, forming a unity or tune in its entirety and underneath this 
he wrote Dr. Smith's stanzas to which the tune has since been sung — 
and to which it was sung at the funeral of her in whose memory it was 

From 1834 dates the tune Olmutz , arranged from a Gregorian Chant 
(Tone VIII), retaining its place in hymnals of today and still sung to 
the verses (written in 1772) for which it was originally composed — 
the joyous lyric of gratitude by the Rev. Augustus Montague Toplady 
(1740-1778 ), the opening stanza of which is: 

Your harps , ye trembling saints , 

Down from the willows take ; 
Loud to the praise of love divine 

Bid even/ string awake . 

In 1836 Mason wrote the hymn- tune Brest , for the verses of intense 

appeal by the Rev. John IJewton (1725-1807), beginning, 

hi^is^/ cfc^ J Day of Judgment , day of wonders ! 

~v~> uvri-&_ I Hark! — the trumpet' s awful sound . 

From the same year, also, dates the hymn- tune Ariel , of which the 
first eight melodic notes are identical, though differently harmonized, 
with those of the first violin in the opening measures of Mozart's 
string quartet in 3 flat major (Kochel-Verzeichnis, Ho. 458). 

Originally published in one of Mason's books — Occasional Psalm 
and Hymn Tunes , in Three Parts , (Boston, 1836) — Ariel , Number 19 
of Part One, is set to the cry exultant of the Rev. Ssmuel Medley 



(1738-1799), and to this hymn, (written in 1789) it is sung to this day: 

Oh , could I speak the matchless worth . 
Oh , could I sound the glories forth 

TThich in rav Saviour shine : 
I'd soar , and touch the heavenly strings , 
And vie wrbh Gabriel , while he sings , 

In notes aliaost sublime. 

In hymnals of more modern days, various statements such for example 
as, " Arranged by Lore 11 I la son ", " Arranged from Ilozart by Lore 11 Mason ", 
etc., are affixed to the tune Ariel . But such statements are not alto- 
gether happily chosen; for the hymn- tune Ariel represents not an arrange- 
ment but a partial adaptation rather — the adaptation of a portion of 
a Hozartian theme. Now this portion, so far as melody is concerned, forms 
the first four measures of the hymn-tune, the remaining twelve measures 
being dependent, not upon Ilozart, but upon the adapter. Ariel thus 
affords an excellent illustration of a point previously alluded to — 
that of Lason's interest and delight in selecting a motif , or a part of 
a theme, from a secular or other work, and of his employment of the same 
in a psalm or a hymn tune, the balance of which however was of his own 
composition. In so proceeding, he followed and long-standing precedent 
already alluded to, — a precedent encouraged by English composers during 
the early nineteenth century, and of which he writes as follows in the 
Preface of The Boston Handel end Haydn Society Collection of Church llusic , 
edition of 1822: 

Of late years a great change has taken place in 
the public sentiment with regard to the importance 
of psalmody, and this has of course called the atten- 
tion of the most eminent masters in England to the 
subject. Several of them have been recently employed 
in harmonizing anew, many of the old standard airs, 
and also in selecxing and adapting movements from the 
works of Handel, Haydn, T.'ozart, Beethoven, and other 
masters . 

The Society are fully aware of the cautious delicacy 




with which variations should be admitted into 
tunes, that by long use have become familiar, 
and by the power of association have been in 
some measure sanctified. They have been careful 
therefore to retain in general, the airs of the 
several tunes unaltered. 

Whatever one may think of such a procedure, per se, the motive of 
the adapters w:s unquestionably far from cryptic. They did not intend 
to appear as the composers of that which others had written; on the con- 
trary, their design was the enrichment of church music literature. With 
this end in view they sought material from the highest of. sources; and it 
■was their custom to credit these sources either in blanket form in the 
Prefaces of books in -which their tunes appeared, or by attributive, ex- 
planatory notes. 

If insjtances occurred, from what causes soever, where such credit 
waa -wanting, the error was doubtless one of omission rather than one of 

Oratorio, chamber music, Gregorian chant, opera, folk-song, in- 
strumental music, olclen-time psalm tune, and an endless list, thus supplied 
a harvest of melody, the utilization of which bespeaks not alone a vide 
familiarity on the part of the adapters with the best in music but a desire 
likewise to acquaint the public in general, f ragmentarily though it might 
be, with this best. 

So far as Lowell Mason was concerned in the movement, there resulted 
many hymn- tunes; and of these not a few proved invigoratingly beneficial 
to the hymnody of his day, and also useful to that of our own. "Every- 
thing was grist to the mill of his psalm and hymn tune books", writes 
E«S. Lorenz in Practical Church Kusic M. Revell Company, 1909), "and 

out of the great mass of original, selected and arranged material which 
he supplied, the people's taste and sense of appropriateness and 




practicability have slowly made the selection of the several score of 
tunes that are the abiding heritage, not of the American churches alone, 
but almost of the Church universal". 

Of such tunes, Antioch is one -- dating from 1836 and adapted from 
Handel's Messiah to the buoyant lyric of Dr. Watts (inspired by Psalm 
XCVIII), Joy to the world I the Lord is come , while another is Naomi , an 
arrangement of a tune by H.G. Nageli, for the pathetic, soulful outpour- 
ing of Anne Steele, epitomizing a. life of sorrow and tragic suffering: 


Father^ whate j er of earthly bliss 

Thy sovereign will denies . 
Accepted at thy throne of grace 

Let this petition rise '. 

" Give me a calm and thankful heart , 
From every murmur free ; 
The blessings of thy grace impart , 
And make me live to thee . 

" Let the sweet hope that thou art mine 
My life and death attend ; 
Thy presence through my .journey shine . 
And c rown m y .journey 1 s end .'" 

During the closing year (1837) of the decade under consideration, 
Mason composed the tune Zerah , for stanzas of James Montgomery (1771-1854), 
layman- poet, whose hymns through their clarity of style and healthy relig- 
ious tone rank him with Doddridge, Gowper and Newton — and of vfiaom it has 
been that he diffused "the love of religion by the religion of love": 

To us a Child of hope is born , 

To us a Son is given ; 
Him shall the tribes of earth obey , 

Him all the hosts of heaven . 

His name shall be the Prince of Peace , 

For evermore adored ; 
The Wonderful , the Counseller , 

The great and mighty Lord ! 





His power , increasing , still shall spread ; 

His reign no end shall know; 
Justice shall guard Hjs^ throne above . 

And peace abound below. "* — 

To us a Child of hope is born , 

To us a Son is given; 
The Wonderful , the Counsellor , 

The mighty Lord of heaven * 

All of these hymn- tunes, composed in accordance with the two 
principles above stated, were written in four-part harmony, chords 
other than the tonic, dominant and sub-dominant (with their inversions) 
appearing comparatively seldom; their melodies, simple like the harmony 
but mellifluous and readily managed as to interval and range, and con- 
fined for the most part to the diatonic scale, made immediate appeal, 
while the hymn- tunes as a whole in their purity, rhythmic strength, and 
unlabored modulation — particularly noticeable in contrast to the 
ornate yet sleazy productions of preceding days, exhibited both dignity 
and grace.. As they supplied the demand for better music occasioned by 
better singing, so they fulfilled the requirements set forth in Mason's 
Address of 1826 for an appropriate style of church music; and though 
they added no new form to music as a science, following as they did in the 
line of their European prototype, they inaugurated -none the les-s a new 
conception of music for use in the Protestant Church of this country. 

Admirably adapted in structure to their purpose and being the 
expression of a nature reverent and sincere, these hymn-tunes speedily 

became to adult and youth alike a potent motivation of religious feeling; 


being the expression furthermore of a nature bre^ad in its human sympathy, 

and being more beautiful too than their predecessors, they aroused in 

the people a keen sense of encouragement and invigoration, a determination 


tot 0S8X lo aseTDOJ 


J* > 
to "fight the good fight*, ''to "faint not nor fear And this at a time 

when such were thrice welcome; for let us not forget that as they began 

to appear, the prevailing religious mood was one of dire hoplessness of 

obtaining salvation, of entire dependence upon the grace of God, and the 

sacrifice of Christ — a mood evincing itself as a wistful yearning for 

Divine help. And these hymn-tunes in recognizing that mood suggested 

also its answer in the soul's confidence and joy. 

Choir members and members of congregations, constantly increasing 
in numbers, through a feeling of attachment for their music now heartily 
participated in the singing thereof, and in as much as the music served 
as a vehicle for the hymns of worship, praise and thanksgiving, the people 
were thus led to a clear and ardent comprehension of the hymns themselves, 
of the significance and messages of the hymns» 

Hearts were made glad; men and women, and children as well, rejoiced 
in the reassurance that, despite the distracting and all-too-absorbing 
theological discussion and controversy so pronounced and confusing at 
the time, there did exist after all a very close relationship between the 
individual and his God, independent of dogma or other humanly- impo sed 
limitation; a relationship, simply yet bountifully made manifest by the 
life and lesson of Jesus Christ, a relationship, open to all, and of one- 
ness with the living, eternal Father. As in their songs of worship the 
people revealed a realizing sense of all that this meant to them, no trace 
of hysteria or ebullient feverishness marred the demonstration of their 
religious glow; but with earnest yet balanced fervor they gave to their 
feelings, now joyous and happy, a spontaneous, natural self-expression. 
Self-expression, so essential a feature in the development not alone of 
music but of every worthy human activity whatsoever; expression, happily 


©bin brw T36 



destined to more and more assert its helpful, widening influence among 
men as the conception of theological tenets became more reasonable, as 
thought and knowledge expanded, end as the belief in a God of wrath gave 
way to the more ennobling, ineffably more welcome and vivifying belief 
in a God of infinite love. 


Chapter XII. 

Part One 

Having thus far considered Mason's undertakings as relating more 

particularly to the improvement of music for the Church we now turn to 

another phase of his activities. For, as has been written: 

Mr. Mason's central idea was the promulgation and 
diffusion of improved musical knowledge by means of 
the introduction of the study of music in the public 
schools. His sagacious mind recognized that the most 
effective means and the most direct route to the build- 
ing up of a general musical cultivation based upon 
sound musical knowledge and appreciation were to be 
attained by infusing upon true principles, a taste for 
musical cultivation into the education of the youth of 
the land. He foresaw that thus would be founded an 
influence that would in a few brief years afford a 
broad foundation for higher musical effort, upon which 
the natural and symmetrical growth of the art in America 
might be left safely to depend. V/hatever of purely art 
ambition he himself may have entertained, he set aside 
for the accomplishment of a purpose of broader utility, 
and he thereafter devoted the labor of his life to the 
preparation of a musical soil in which for all the 
future there might be the germinating influence of true 
and healthy growth and progress. ^- 

As early as the year 1826, it may be recalled, Mason had stated 
in his Boston lecture that "children must be taught music as they are 
taught to read — until something of this kind is done, it is in vain 
to expect any permanent improvement. * f #r *o * If music be not taught 
in childhood, much progress must not be expected afterwards." 

Theory, to be sure, is one thing, practice another. But that 
Mason put into practical operation the theory advanced in his Boston 
lecture is made clear from the fact that the remarkable singing and 

1. W.S. B% Mathews, op. cit. 


tonal balance of his church choir were due in large measure to his system- 
atic instruction of children in music. 

Wishing to augment the alto part and sensing the aptitude of chil- 
dren's voices for this part, it became his immediate object to train a 
class of boys and girls with such end in view. Teaching the children to 
read music he shortly thereafter equipped them for choir membership. And 
as an adjunct to his efforts in this direction he now prepared, upon the 
request of the Boston Sabbath School Union, the earliest of his several 
books designed particularly for the young, namely, the Juvenile Psalmist 
which appeared in 1829 — the first Sunday School music book to be pub- 
lished in this country or, so far as he was aware, in any country. 

At last, two hundred and more subsequent to the earliest 
settlement of Hew England, it thus became clear that children could be 
taught music; that the capabilities of boys and girls of America in no 
wise differed in such respect, at least, from the capabilities of the boys 
and girls of other and older countries. Alas! as today we contemplate the 
fact how strange it seems that proof thereof needs ever to have been 

necessary. Yet such undeniably was the case, as history ruthlessly but 
irrefragably reveals. 

In the seventh Annual Report, 1833, for instance of the Boston Academy 
pX Music , may be found the following description of conditions characteristic 
of the period now under consideration: 

In the present state of public opinion upon 
the subject of education in music, it is not easy 
to convey to others an idea of the apathy which 
formerly existed in relation to it, or the doubts 
and distrust which its friends had to encounter. But 
there are those among us whose memories bear a faithful 
record of such difficulties at the outset of our enterprise. 
And we need only to trace a history of facts beginning 



eight years since to recall them to our minds. At 
that time, when a gentleman, now a professor of the 
Academy (T:r. Mason) , proposed to give a public exhibi- 
tion of "one proficiency in music made by a class of 
about two hundred children. who had received gratuitous 
instruction under his care, we well remember the cold- 
ness, not to say contempt, with which the proposition 
was received by individuals of intelligence, whose 
opinions upon subjects connected with education had 
weight with the public. Apparently it was regarded by 
them as scarcely within the range of possibility that 
the voices of children of a tender age could be so trained 
as to produce anything v/hich deserved the name of music; 
and that, to bestow pains in teaching such, or an hour 
? T in listening to th_em, was but time and labor thrown 

away. Nor is it^all probable that the sentiments of 
the public at large, so far as any were entertained by 
them, were widely different. Shea on the evening appoint- 
ed for the exhibition, we saw a large number of spectators, 
we could not but feel that they had assembled with mingled 
emotions, in which, if curiosity predominated, distrust 
and doubt were not without their share. But the results 
of that concert we shall never forget. To a few of the 
first songs the audience listened with wonder, 
not unmixed with fear lest the excellence of the perfor- 
mance v/hich commenced so favorably might not be sustained 
to the end. But when, as each succeeding piece was sung, 
the confidence manifested by the young pupils in their 
own powers had communicated itself to the listeners, when 
to a precision and accuracy in time and tune which might 
have put to shame veteran choirs, there were added some of 
the more difficult graces of execution, the effect was 
electrical. Doubt and distrust were banished, and the 
audience gave themselves up to emotions of delight. A 
repetition of the concert was called for, accompanied with 
the warmest encomiums of the press, and was received with 
unabated interest. One error, that which denied the 
capacity of children for learning music, was removed. 

The B oston Academy of Mus ic (of which more is said, later on) was 
founded January 8, 1833. Its inauguration was the outcome of a suggestion 
by Mason to various leading citizens of Boston that en association be organ- 
ized with a view to aiding in the promotion of musical education among the 
people at large — an indispensable means thereto being the adoption of ele- 
mentary vocal music as a subject of study in the common schools of the 

Shortly prior, however, to the time referred to lm the quotation 


just given, "an incident occurred" , "as W. S. B. Mathews has recorded, 


"which introduced to Mr. Mason a new end powerful element of 
progress, end gave a somewhat different bent from that which 
he had contemplated, to the course of his effort. William C. 
Woodbridge, an American teacher of high repute as an earnest 
and successful educator, had been compelled to visit Europe 
for the restoration of health, shattered by too close appli- 
cation to his labors. He made use pf the opportunities open- 
ed by this tour to Bake a study of European educational in- 
stitutions, with the view of incorporating into the American 
common school system such elements of improvement as he found 
useful and practicable, '"hile thus engaged in examining into 
the Pestalozzien system of education as practiced in Germany 
and Switzerland, he became especially impressed with the im- 
portance of music as an educational factor. In short, he be- 
came convinced. by his observation there of the practicability 
and advantage, upon other than purely musical grounds, of a 
of ft system, which Mr. Mason had at home already shaped out as 
the highest means to the end of musical progress. 

"On returning home in December, 1822, Mr. Woodbridge brought 
over the ideas of Pfeiffer, Kubler and Na'geli on this system 
of singing instruction, and Mr, Mason was soon convinced, on 
testing the capabilities of the system, that it offered an 
admirable means to insure success for his cherished object of 
incorporating musical instruction in public school education. 
It cannot be said that he accepted this innovation upon the 
methods to which he had been accustomed spontaneously. His 
nature was not of that kind. While he was progressive he was 
also intelligently conservative. He had already attained phe- 
nomenal success as a teacher." 

Now it so happened that in August, of the year 1830, Mr, Woodbridge deliv- 
ered a lecture before the American Institute of Instruction , at Boston, on the 


occasion of the Institute's initiatory meeting. Although originally not especial 
ly interested in vocal music, but having received while in Europe a vivid im- 
pression of the excellent results derivable from its study, Mr. Woodbridge chose 
as the subject of his lecture Vocal Music as a Branch of Education . »«d during 

Lfbydh (it. 

the course of hi-s - roroar ks spoke a s follows: 

In the United States vocal music was usually regarded as 

1. William Channing Woodbridge (1794-1845), whose father, William Woodbridge 
(1755-1836), was the first Principal, or Preceptor, of Phillips Exeter 
Academy, was born at Medford, Massachusetts, and graduated from Yale Col- 
lege with the class of 1811. Though he studied for the ministry, he was 
never ordained. He became- Principal of the Burlington Academy, of New Jersey, 
in 1812} a teacher at M. Gallaudet's Institution for the deaf and dumb at 
Hartford, Connecticut, in 1817. Well known as educator and geographer, he 
purchased in 1830 the American Journal of Education ; renaming it American 
Annals of Education and Instruction , he continued as its editor and publisher 
until 1838. 

. At a convention of leading educators of the day held in Boston, 15 March, 
1830, a committee was appointed to consider the formation of an association 
the aim of which should be to effect a change and betterment in the then sorry 
condition of popular education — the inexperience and incompetence -o f m-imm. — 
teachers in general; the unsuitable locations and inadequacy of school houses, 
with little or no regard for architectural beauty; lack of proper apparatus; re 
sort to corporal punishment as a disciplinary means; the curriculum of studies 
in free common schools being virtually limited to the "three R's" with instruc- 
tion consisting of memoriter recitations, and other unfavorable features. In 
response to the committee's widely-circulated call, issued through the press of 
^sf eleven or more states, upwards of three hundred sympathizers with the cause 
met at the State House, August 19-22, for discussion and definite action. The 
outcome was the inauguration of the American Institute of Instruction , destined 
to occupy an outstanding position among educational organizations of the coun- 
try. (For more detailed accounts see The Americrn Journal of Education, 1856, 
edited by Henry Barnard; The Annals of the American Institute of Instruction, 
being A Record of Its. Doings for 54 years , from 1330 till 1885 . by Chs s . 
Northend. New Britain, Conn. 1884; and also E. I. F. Williams' Korr.ce Viann, Ed- 
;ational Statesman. The Macmillan Company, 1957.) 

one of the luxuries of education, until the establish- 17 ° 
ment of Sundry Schools rendered it more general. 
. The first point to be gained is to introduce a simple, 
rational method of instruction which would render it prac- 
ticable . . and the second, to supply the species of 
music adapted to children, which would be simple, without 
being infantile, and elevated without becoming artificial or 
unintelligible, . . But another subject still remains 
to be accomplished, — to awaken public interest, and inspire 
public confidence^ 

He further states in the lecture that he knows not how he can better win 
his way to the indulgent feelings of his hearers than by requesting a juvenile 
choir to aid him by singing one of its simple melodies. 

Forthwith, a class of boys that had been trained by Lowell liason supplement- 
ed the speaker's remarks with song. Astonishment and delight moved the audience 
to a high degree of enthusiasm. And although L"<r. Wood bridge had never pursued 
the study of music himself, he now proved to be a worthy ally of Mason's ideas. 


Through his sympathetic allegiance many persons who might perhaps have remain- 
ed indifferent became convinced of the possibility, also the desirability, of 
instructing the young in music — in the elementary principles of singing and 
note-reading, of beating time, and maintaining an individual voice-part. The 
two men from now on labored shoulder to shoulder with a vim, each evincing a 
complete understanding of the other's beliefs and aspirations . 

In the published Records of the American Institute of Instruction may be 
seen an Index - a long one - of the Lecturers and their Subjects. While quite 
out of the question to reproduce this here, the following resume, listing a 
few of these may indicate the character of the work undertaken, as also that 
of those who pursued it: 

Education and the manner in which it is to be obtained f by Francis 
T'ayland, President of Brown University, and first President of the Institute; 
Modes of teaching Arithmetic « Warren Colbura, of "oral arithmetic" fame, author of 

1. The Introductory Discourse and Lectures, delivere d in Boston, before the. 
Convention of Teachers, and Fjde^ds~^Qf^u^ajbi^n, assembled to form the Amer- 
ican/Hstitute of Instr uction . Published under the direction of the Board of 
Censors. Boston. 185l7l3vo7~pp . 550. (Hilliard, Gray, Little and Wilkinsj. 


the widely known, highly successful First Lessons in Intellectual Arithmetip ; 
Duties of Parents . Jacob Abbott; The Value of a, good Teacher . William Ellery 
Channing, eminent Unitarian divine; Early Intellectual Education . A. Bronson 
Alcott, educational reformer, founder of Temple School, remarkable for the nov- 
elty of its methods; Instruction in History , Elizabeth P. Peabody, active in 
introducing the kindergarten system into the United States; On Inspiring a 
Taste for English Literature , Ralph Waldo Emerson; Education . Horace llann, re- 
former of American free public school system; On Classical Learning . Cornelius 
C. Felton, President, later on, of Harvard University; Obligation of towns to 
Elevate the character of Public Schools , Henry Barnard, educational pioneer, 
founder and editor for three decades of American Journal of Education : Mode of 
Teaching Vocal Music i n Classes after the Method of Pestalozzi . Lowell liason; 
Importance of the Natural Sciences f Asa Gray, leading American botanist of his 
time, author of the universally prized Manual and matchless series of text-books; 
Courtesy , or School Deportment . Gideon F. Thayer, founder of Chauncey Hall 
School, a.uthor and ever-ready advocate of educational progress; The true Method 
of Teaching Geography . A. Guyot, distinguished geographer and geologist; Decla- 
mation . William Russell, author, teacher, a foremost elocutionist of his day; 
Physical Education f John Collins Warren, eminent American surgeon, founder and 
editor of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal : The Education of the Propen- 
sities . W. B. Fowle, founder of the I-ionitorial School for Girls, bearing his 
name; Moral Influences of Physical Sciences , John Fierpont, Unitarian clergyman, 
poet, abolitionist; The Education of the Laboring Classes . Theodore Parker, 
scholarly preacher, author, reformer; The Best Method of Teaching the Living 
Languages . George Ticknor, historian, literary critic, Harvard College profes- 
sor of modern languages; The Monitorial System . Henry K. Oliver, Principal of 
the English High School and founder of a private academy, a man of many interests 
and achievements; Development of the ivlental Faculties and the Teaching of Geog- 
raphy . James Gordon Carter, author and teacher, whose practical and philosophi- 
cally sound views paved the way to the professional training of teachers of free 
schools — a ne plus ultra factor in successfully promoting the cause of popu- 
lar education. 

Duly incorporated in 1851 by an act of the Massachusetts legislature, the 
Institute was granted — four years later and largely through the efforts of 
James G. Carter, the writer of the act — an appropriation by the legislature 
of three hundred dollars per annum for five successive years. Renewed again and 
again as time went on this appropriation aided greatly in maintaining the con- 
tinuance and expanding the usefulness of the organization. In short, for a 
period of seventy-eight years the American Institute of Instruction exerted a 
notably beneficial influence upon ways and means of popular education. Its 
annual meetings were held in numerous principle centres, sessions 


throughout the day beinF devoted to reports, lectures, and forum-like dis- 
cussions of the points raised. Hundreds of educational protagonists, teachers, 
and school officers annually attended, the evening sessions being thrown open 
to parents as well. So constructively vital was the influence thus exerted, 
that Horace Mann, when Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education 
some years later, incorporated in his Tenth Annual Report, 1846, these words: 

The Institute may justly be considered the 
source of all the improvements in education which 
have since been made in New England and the other 
Northern States; and its influence is slowly diffus- 
ing itself through the uncongenial regions of the South. 

Thus, from the outset and for three quarters of a century the Institute 
stood for progress in education, cordially encouraging every forward movement, 
never thwarting one. At its meetings, of three or more days, the number of 
lectures given averaged above ten per annum, the widely diversified topics 
being assigned to the invited speakers by a Committee of Arrangements. At the 
inaugural meeting, 1830, for instance, the lecturers numbered fourteen, of 
whom one, as we have seen, was r illiem C. Woodbridge. Interest in the subject- 
matter of his lecture, and no less in the song-illustrations of the child- 
ren, went on unebatedly, — commendatory articles appearing in the press re- 
flecting alike the favorable impression made and a general desire for further 
amplification of the subject. Thus it came about that Lowell Mason gladly ac- 
cepted the Committee's invita.tion to deliver an address before the Institute 

at his earliest opportunity. 

To the Juvenile Choir of boys, who by their singing had so moved the audi- 
ence on the occasion of Mr. Woodbridge f s lecture, Mason now added a corres- 
ponding number of girls, and this enlarged, well-balanced group he soon pre- 
sented in public concerts. As a means of furthering the S2/mpathetic interest of 
the considerable portions of the people who heard them, these concerts proved 
eminently successful; and since Mason's conducting of the concerts was entirely 
without monetary compensation, the proceeds resulting therefrom reached a 
worthwhile figure. These proceeds were at once apportioned among various chari- 


table institutions. 

Notwithstanding the success which Mason, as a teacher, had previously 


achieved, M so marked as to be almost phenomenal," writes Theodore F. Seward, 
the more he experimented with and scrutinized the Inductive Method of instruc- 
tion, based on the Pestalozzian system (to which Woodbridge had referred in 
his Institute lecture and introduced to his friend), namely, the songs of 
Nageli and the treatise by M. T. Pfeiffer and Nageli (published at Leipsig, 
1810, under the title Gesangbildung'slehre nach Pestalozzischen Grand sat z en ) f 
the more favorably impressed was he by the common sense of its principles; and 
on having becoma convinced of its indisputable merits he left no stone un- 
turned to bring about its general adoption. Believing the Pestalozzian method 
to be the natural manner of teaching, he eagerly strove to replace the old, or 
then universal plan of starting a pupil off with a complete tune and correct- 
ing mistakes as such occurred, with the more logical plan, the plan in short 
of building up rather than patching up f to wit, the Inductive method. 

Briefly, the main points of the Method, as applied to the teaching of vocal 
music are these: 

1. Teach sounds prior to signs; lead the pupil to sing before 
teaching him the names of the tones he sings, or the signifi- 
cance of the notes representing those tones. 

2. Lead the pupil to observe (through hearing) and to execute or 
imitate differences in sounds, rather than explain these differ- 
ences to the pupil, — and so render him active rather than 
passive . 

3. Teach one musical element at a time — Rhythm, Melody, Express- 
ion — instead of attempting all three at the same time, or 
expecting the pupil to understand all three at once. 

4. Lead the pupil to master each step through practice, one step 
at a time, before passing to the next. 

5. Explain to the pupil the principles involved after f not before « 
practice; as an induction, that is, from the practice. (Here is 
the pith of the Inductive Method). 

While doubtless the system of instruction, based on the principles here 

given, owes its early impetus to the Swiss educational reformer and chief 

1. Op, cit. 

jH/oxraiq bad .Ttarioaad a aa t noBatJ rioirfw aaQOOi/a qot g, n r f¥itw a-ru xwjo 


idani lo boddeii jvldoirbnl arid beslaWirxot boa rfdlw badnaml-xeqxe erf 9-ioin add 
t Kq-ttoTat hjsrf s-biTdbooW doldw od) mste^a nslssoladael 9dd no beaad t noxd 

-j j. ^.r^—o^ ffv««'V» hKJ n* hftitrhoTirri hflfl 9Hfd09l adudldBXtl eld 

glaqleJ da bedalldwq) He^aM boa T.elllsl'I .T .M Tjd ealdaa-id add bos xl9§aJ! 

; ; aaIq±onx-xq Ml lo eanaa ooenoo add ad 8^ beeaeTqaii ^WotovbI stoc: arid 
_ m j ©noda on dial erf adi-xeai ©IdBJ-x/qaibnl sdi lo feetLttneo mooed salvad no 
>ridaa nalsaoJjadaa^ arid snivel LaS .noldqoba la-tene* diroda solid od bemud 
t bIo add sonlqei od ©voids T,Xi»BM ed ,3nldofled lo lennsm .fry dag add" ed od 
I-09T1O3 boa enud edalqnoo a ddlw ilo Ilqnq a satti&te lo nalq iBB-ievlm; nerid- 
hxoda nl nslq add t nelq IaoJ:§oI sioia arid d#iw ,beimooo dona a« aeiadexin §nl 
.borfdem avxdoubnl add t dxw od t at jjtfttdH flari ^ aaiiifil SUL liflXN^d lo 
boot lo anldoaad odd od beilqqa aa «bodd©M add lo adnioq aim arid .YllaxiS 

:98©dd aia oxajjc 

sTolad anle od Ixqnq add ba9l :anaxa od *iol*xq abnuoa doaeT .1 

»av_!, „j+ „nrr rp orf s*«rrn.+ firf.+ a-3flLBn odd falrf T*nxdOBOt 

» 111b 959;id nlalqxa narid neddai t abnLroa rtl aeone'ielllb edadlnix 
oarid leddai gvxdoa mid isbn&i oa bos — t Ilqwq odd od eeon8 

3atqxi t vboIaK t iaddv,dH — ©mid a da dnem9la Xaolatu ano doaeT .5 
io ,aciid ©ma a edd da aeidd Ha gnidqmadda lo baoj3nX nox 
a^ftri +« «^*rrf+ _TLa bniitEiafifU/ od XIqi/'J axid ^nldoacrye 
:adB ©no ,eoldoat«i dauoodd qetp. doaa -iodaaia od Ilquq add band .> 

I a-iaH) ,9oldoB7q add moil t al c'arid ,noidof.rhni na aa jeoldoaiq 

.(boddaM avldox/bnl add lo ddiq add 

9t©d aalqlonlTi add^ no beaad «noldoircdenl lo nodaxe add aealddwob •LtriTT 

loiiio boa leanolaT laxioldaoube &al»c« add od andeqal ^Iisa edl a 9 wo 

.dlo .qO , 


protagonist of modern pedagogy, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), whose 

underlying motive as he himself expressed it was to "psychologize education," 

it is nevertheless to certain of his followers — Michael Trangott Pfeiffer 

^ (1771-1850) and Johann Georg Nageli (1775-1856) — to whom credit is due for 

the development and issuance of the above-mentioned treatise (employing, to be 

sure, the Pestalozzian principles) on elementary instruction in vocal music. 

Credit is likewise due to various others as well — notably Kubler, Krusi, 

Fellenberg, Gersbach — who, as the result of their labors and experience in 

teaching, published material in advance even of that contained in the treatise 

of Pfeiffer and Nageli. 

Such, then, were the works brought to this country by T.'oodbridge and handed 

by him to Lowell Mason, to whom he remarked: If you will call together a class 

I will translate and write out each lesson for you as you want it, and you 

can try the method; it will take about twenty-four evenings." The class was 

soon assembled, its place of meeting being the large lecture room of Park Street 

Church, Boston. Apropos of the attending circumstances therewith, the late 

George F. Boot, Mus. D., in The Story of a Musical Life , writes: 

" Dr. Mason has often described how he took Mr. Wood- 
bridge's translation in one hand and his pointer in the other, 
and developed, as well as he could, what was afterward embodied 
in the Teacher's Manual of the Boston Academ?/" of Music f as the 
Pestalozzian method of teaching vocal music in classes. The class 
was composed largely of prominent people of the city who were inter- 
ested in musical education, and all were greatly delighted with the 
new way. 

That was undoubtedly the first class of its kind ever taught 
in the English speaking world. . . . Speaking to Dr. I^ason 
once about this remarkable class, I asked him what those ladies 
and gentlemen paid for that course of twenty-four lessons. 'Oh, they 
arranged that among themselves,' he replied. 'They decided that 
five dollars apiece would be about right . ' And how many were there 

•in the Class? He smiled as he answered: 'About five hundred.'" 

ffith the material received from Kr. Woodbridge as a basis Mason then pro- 

ceeded to evole a practical yet simple system of instruction — being to a 
certain extent a translation of Kubler 's work — in which he included, 

dm ,(YS8X-3*VX) 1ssoIb*E8 < 1 doi-mlaH ooadoL % xgo^sb&q a-isbom lo JexooaaJo-iq 

sd &a evi-tom ^iLbil'iabru/ 


1 ttoaOBiT IsBrioill — e-iawollol 
81 cMbeio mod* o* - (aS8X*8tt£) xleaaH §ioeO mxadol baB (038X-XVT1) 
voiane) ^BXtasiJ benoxtfnaffl-evoda &d& lo annalfaex boa j-fieraqolaveo ea v 
Isoov at xxolcHwr^ani WhmbIb no (Belqxwix-cq aaXssoIarte^ W» t »ro 
I -xaXdijX — Hew sa BTtedtfo auoxiBv oJ- ei/b aaxweixl ai Jibe-iO 

K»ax o brus eiodal Tied,* lx> tli;u3i ad* 88 ,odw — rioadeTE&C ^^lodxielle^ 

,oii add at banlsJooo Jarti lo nava sooavba ax I. 

aJ-sm beriaiidiq ^saldoaotf 

< a.*t'»ws ffltepfcll .Ha^isM bna Tallied lo 

boad bxta e^biidbooTT vd x^doi/oo a-td^ o^ tdgwe'td Bjitow arid" aiew t nedJ ,dou8 
ilc a ledd-ego* Xiao Xliw uo<. H :be^i«(cet ed mod* el t noaaM XIawoJ ot aid vd 

uox boa ,*i ^oaw i/ov, aa jjo* iol noeeal dose dno elin* boa ed-alana-it IIxw I 
3bw aaalo ariT ".8 T3 o±fleva -iuol-*tae^ ***** XXiw Ji ?boANuI eri * ^ M0 
f3 iia*I lo moo* enseal ^tal ed& $oied grcWeem lo <ioalq aJX t r 

a*al edf % dStmei3d& esoa&Umtoilo gatbaeJJ-a ad* lo ^oqoiqA .r 

rosea s nooe 
ioS ,rIontJrjO 

■ 2fl 

Jd^i/ai lave Jb 

tnarrxmoTq lo v,j 
Lb boa t aoxd"BOi/j 

I t aaalo a. 
) oanroo «tai 

i evil ti/odA. 1 :b©-iawaaa ad aa beXJtaa eH taaaXO ed& ai ' /v^vfe, 
alefld a aa e^biidbooT? ,*iM moil bevXaoa^t laliaJ'affl 9n* d^lff 

noxJouiJenx lo me-ta^e alqraia &Q\ Xaox^ofliq a elova od 1 beba&o 

txl eri dolrfw oi — *xow a'aaXduii lo no±*aIanBii a Jaa*xe axa^ieo 


together with suggestions from English and other publications, various 
points arising from his own experience. 

And not only did Mason's system of instruction serve as the foundation 
of his own future career as a teacher, as the ground-work of his forthcoming 
book (Manual of the Boston Academy of Mu s ic ? for instruction in the elements 
of Vocal Music . on the system of Pestalozzi . 1854 . ) , and as the means largely 
of winning success for the project of including music-study in the public 
schools, but it remains to this day a model, in conformity with the essential 
features of which instruction in public school vocal music may be most intelli- 
gently and effectually carried on. True, during the years that have elapsed 
since the book first appeared, changes have occurred as regards details of 
materials and practice — changes that are in closer accord with the aims and 
principles — yet the Manual stands nevertheless as the earliest systeiniza- 
tion (in America) of modern educational principles as applied to the teaching 
of music. 

As a further means of enlisting the public's attention and of quickening 

its incipient interest — in addition to the children's public concerts, and 

as a stimulus to the young singers, as well — now it was that Mason prepared, 


in collaboration with E. Ives, Jr., the Juvenile Lyre t or Hymns and Songs . 

1. Elam Ives, Jr. (1802-64), a friend of William C. Foodbridge, was a teacher 
of vocal music at Hartford, Conn. In 1830 Ives, to whom ?."oodbridge had ex- 
plained the principles of Pestalozzianism, made use of the data already men- 
tioned with his pupils. His efforts being but tentative, the data were trans- 
ferred to Mason. 

u/oixav . anoxdaoildira lerido baa daJtlgai moil 

rLtniBl OflBam ad* as bos t (.£S3X . j^solads^ l£ fledge 32. i£2$l l£ 

oxlduq arid- ni x^e-oxamn ^nxbirlooi to doatoiq end" iol aaeoowe ^axonxw lo 
Uxcfneaas arid" dJxw ^dxcnolnoo ni t l9bom a °* aa*^" 1 * x iud ,aloorioe 

. . , . ' r „ „ r^rt-lrvo « r Mrm rr J- rtn K^rr+?nf rinlriw lo 8911^391 

Iladnx daom 9d "^aci oxax/ni xboov Looaoe a-u-uiq m. 

beeqmla avarf dartt ai&9\ arid gcxiub <9inT .no belioso -cLiaj/doaxlg ^ob ^Idnea 

. . ,, r + . - ^ Q _.„__ r_ _i na^naHo — 90.ti9.3iq baa alaxiada.: 

-aslmsd'aYe iaaxIiBe arid as e39larij"i9van abnada Iai. r naW 9nd de^ — aelqionxiq 
arix^oaad- arid od Jbeilqqa as eglqxoniiq Lanoltaoube aiebon lo (aol-iamA ox) aoli 

, oxauic lo 

anxnealoixrp lo ban noltaei&B a'oxldjjq arid ^ixdaxlfla 10 aaaem teridiul a aA 
boa ediaonoo oxld^ i a'naillrip erid od" flDitfxbba ox — daaiadnx dnaxqiofli adl 
* - rrau oa cT4'-.n>n nmrov 9ri.t od Bf/IifHlida 3 83 

aiq no< 

GXlOO ai 



Religious . Moral, and Cheerful . set to appropriate I.iusi . c . For t he use. of 


Primary and Common Schools . This book, bearing the copyright date of Febru- 
ary 1, 1831, was the first children's school song book containing secular 
music to be published in this country. 

In the Preface of the Juvenile L yre are stated the compilers 1 reasons for 
its issuance; and as the Preface is illuminating too regarding the then 
unintelligent attitude of the public concerning the question of vocal in- 
struction, one or more paragraphs anent these points are given verbatim : 

It has been almost universally believed, that 
Providence has distributed the peculiar powers ne- 
cessary for the successful cultivation of the art 
of singing, with a hand so very unequal, that the 
few, who are favored, become musicians without dif- 
ficulty, and almost without instruction or effort, 
while to the vast majority the attainment of any val- 
uable degree of musical skill is almost entirely hope- 
less. In this supposed decision of Providence, mankind 
^^jfeJLf have generally acquiesced, and have allowed this art to 

remain sl\oely in the possession of the few, not because 
they have regarded it as of little value, but because 
they have considered its attainment impracticable. 

A change is, however, very rapidly taking place, upon 
this subject, in the public mind. Proofs of the very gen- 
eral, if not universal, power to understand the distinc- 
tions of musical sound, and to control, in accordance with 
them, the modulations of the voice, are multiplying. The 
number of the young who receive instruction, and make suc- 
cessful progress in this art, is rapidly increasing; and as 
the hope arises that this acquisition may be made by all, it 
is viewed with more attention, and its various advantages 
are more and more highly appreciated. 

It has been justly observed that the ballads of a nation 
have more influence than its laws; and in a country where 
the laws and the government are based upon the character of 
the people, it becomes of inconceivable importance that 
every avenue to the conscience and to the heart be guided by 
virtuE and piety. It is with the hope of contributing to 

1. Several texts of the Juvenile Lyre , for which P«1ason composed music, 
were by Samuel Francis Smith (1808-25), destined to fame as the author 
of jjjr country r 'tis of thee : other texts, among them ?.ary had a little 
lamb , were by Mrs. Sarah J. Buell Kale (1788-1878), originally appearing 
in her Pnpn.s for our Children (lSoO) — the writing of which was the 
outcome of a suggestion by her friend, Lowell f&son. (See The Ladv of 
Godeyjg, Chapter XVII, by Ruth E. Firiley. {j. b. Lippincott Company, 
Philadelphia and London. 1251). 

used ^atat&taoo Mood ^noa loodoa a'aeiblirio Jaxil arid- asm 

.■^iim/oo airld" ni bails JLXcfc 
fl05JS9*i * 2"X9i.xqmoo sxij' boj£vfu axo BBM mUtttBBu A ° 

Xacov *io xio2«J"8oirp 9rfJ" snxirc^xioo oilduq add" lo abud'xJ'.ia 
Lii-pOia 77, n9V±g 9*1j8 ainloq. SEnaiM" Jrieaa adqai^Bi.^q atom *xo 5 

-aalJalb 9itt btLJ^e tsZmij oJ- 19woi t - r -sai9via 
dJlw oonainooos ni , Io"iJ"no o oj" boa t bcoroa Xa 
•dT . ^ Jr^IqiJ Jxtb ei* t aolov adJ- lo anoital 
-ocm £::aci b/ia ,aoi5 , oo*t^aiii eviaoei orfw smro^ 
aa boa ; gala* *rcnl ^Xbiq^n si t .f*t£ aid J ni aa 
t IIa ^ ebjaa ed x« atijieJttfpcui alrtt iarfJ a 
aogaJTuBvbr gjjolxav ad-JL bjia ^xiol^ne^iB tyxoie 

noiian a 3b3l£sd erf«t iady favicaco vldai/L 


this result, that these songs are given to the 
public. A large portion of them are translated from 
works which were collected by the Rev. William C. 
Woodbridge, during a recent visit to Germany, and 
placed by him in the hands of the Editors, with the 
hope of rendering them useful to the children and 
youth of this country. 

They have peculiar claims to confidence, on the 
ground that they are derived from collections formed 
with great care, by individuals familiar with the wants 
and feelings of children; and have been found by experi- 
ence admirably adapted to cultivate the powers, elevate 
the taste, improve the character, and cheer and animate 
the hearts of whole communities of children. They have 
also received the sanction of the public guardians of ed- 
ucation in many parts of Europe, and form a part of that 
course of instruction which is deemed indispensable to a 
well organized school. Most of them have been translated 
by Mr. S. F. Smith, in such a manner as to preserve the 
music as originally written. The same gentleman has also 
furnished several very beautiful original songs. A number 
have been taken from an interesting little volume of Poems 
for children, by Mrs. Sarah J. Hale, and a few from other 
sources . 

It will be seen that some of the songs are intended to 
be mere expressions of childish pleasure; others, descrip- 
tions of the warmest and best feelings of the heart; and 
others still associate moral and religious instruction with 
the objects v;e see, and the common events we witness; and 
thus serve to lead the child "through nature up to nature's 
God." Could we put such songs into the mouths of the numer- 
ous children of our country, who does not perceive the happy 
influence which would be exerted upon the feelings and man- 
ners and morals of the rising generation, on whose character 
the future destiny of the country depends? 

Hearty was the welcome accorded the book, and enthusiastic the reaction to 

the stimulating appeal of its novel, simple songs. Here at last was a treasure- 

trove for young and old alike. To the child, hitherto starved through lack of 


intelligible songs, the delights of self-expression through music now became 
possible, while to the average adult, here in America, music's potentially 
beneficial effects and pleasures were made manifest as seldom if ever before. 

Augmenting, also, the favorable impression produced by the concerts upon the 
public, the Juvenile Lyre wherever it circulated — and its circulation was by 
no means inconsiderable — played a telling part in kindling general interest 
as to the subject of musical education for the young. 

lb t n 

b o$ sldsau 

o& noivtoaei add - oxiasiiic 
ISJdBeii B 3XK7 t&al tffl eii 

ic acbX rf^xfoid j i^sviaja < 

t ;4ood ad J LeljnoooB 9a 
alqntio ,l9Von etx lo 

rieonoo adj \d beoi 
[mSmo'sIo ait hna — 

:a-xlae to ztd$±I.Qh adi ,8^00 a 9lax , j±ii.a<tai 
erred t thiba esBiavs arit oi eixdw ,aidxaaoq 
ahain eiaw aenrajsalq baa atoaixa laxoilon&d 
ileaartqax eldaioval add- t oaIa t gfli^naiU3i/A 
toiic iJt *xevettafiw ©t^I alxcav j/k ari.t ^olldwq 


[footer Xll 

Raving by this time exposed the fallacy of the then current but inde- 
fensible notion of "only here and there a musical ear," J.ason straightway 
laid plans for a demonstration of juvenile singing which in its signifi- 
cance should surpass any such exhibition previously given, and in this all 
of his classes should be represented. The date of the demonstration — to 
be held under the auspices of the Boston Sabbath School Union (as had a 
similar exhibition at Park Street Church the year before) and in celebra- 
tion of the fifty-fifth anniversary of American independence — was set 
for the following Fourth of July, 1831, then four month or so distant. 

Meantime, rehearsals in preparation for the event were held weekly in 

the basement vestry of the Bowdoin Street (Dr. Lyman Beecher's) Church. To 

this place, Home months previously, ;. c & son's school for the gratuitous vocal 

instruction of children had been removed from the Park Street Church, and here 

Mason met each Saturday afternoon any and all desirous of music-study; here 

he drilled his already famous choir of adults, and here too he first applied 

the principles of Pestalozzianism to his teaching. "The humble underground 

room is worth remembering," one has v.ritten, "as the birthplace of American 


popular musical instruction." 

Among the songs under rehearsal for the forthcoming demonstration 

1. 'See Article by James C. Johnson, a former pupil of Lowell Mason and later 
a co-worker with him, in The Bostonian for March;, 1835, p. 626: The Intro - 
duction of the Study of Music into the Public Schools of Boston &nd of 
1 Lc 

was Samuel Francis Smith's patriotic hymn America 

1 18% 
— the story concerning 

the writing of which and of its first public hearing, as told by its author 

in the closing year of his life, is as follows: 

"At that time %>' recounts Dr. Smith, "I was a student 
in the Theological Seminary at Andover. One day Mr. ?."ason 
brought me a whole mass of his books, some bound and some 
in pamphlet form, and said, in his simple and childlike \ ay, 
'There, Mr. V oodbridge has brought me these books. I don't 
know what is in them. I can't reed German but you can. I 
wish you would look them over as you find time, and if you 
fall in with anything I can use, any hymns or songs for the 
children, I wish you would translate them into English poetry; / 
or, if you prefer, compose hymns or songs of your own, of the L 
seme metre end accent with the German, so that I can use them'. 5 
I accepted the trust not unwillingly, as en agreeable recreation 
from graver studies, and from time to time gave him the results 
of my efforts. Thus he was furnished with several hymns for 
the Spiritual Son^s . which he was issuing in numbers; also for 
the Juvenile Lyre , the first book of children's music ever pub- 
lished in this country, in which most of tiie songs were my own 
translations from Nageli and other German composers.' 

"One dismal day in February, 1852% about half an hour before 

1. The Outlook (N. Y. ) , November 25, 1885. 

%. The year, I believe, was 1851, and not 1852. My reasons are as follows: 

It was customary et the time to distribute among the audiences attending 
celebrations of Independence Lay, held at Park Street Church, printed 
forms, or programs, of the exercises^, 
now in my possession, are copies ofpr 

of these is for the year 1828, when William Lloyd Garrison (1805-72)"de- 
livered his first Boston anti-slavery Address. Among the audience vhich 
filled the spacious Sunday-school room of the Church were John Greenleaf 
Whit tier, William Goodcll, editor of the Empncir -a tor , and the Rev. John 
Pierpont — the letter's stirring hymn, 1 iti. Thy pure dews and rains , 
being sung, as it was indeed at many a subsequent anti-slavery meeting. 

The other program, for the year 1851, is here reproduced and shows that 
America was sung at thet time. Again, the Rev. Edwin M. Long, in his 
Illustrated History of Hymns a nd their Authors (1882), states, under the 
caption Origin of country , 1 tie of tnee, tr.e following: t»j n answer "to 
some (inquiries concerning tue composition of the hymn, he {Dr. Smitfi] 
Bays" f* "One dry, I think in the month of February, 1851, or '22%** etc. 
Thircly, The Music-. 1 America (N. Y.) for July 4, 1214, in writing of a 
letter by Dr. Smith whivh had been put up for sale at the Anderson Art 
Galleries, New York City, quotes from the letter this sentence: "It, the 
hymn, was first sung * * * * in 1852 or 1855". The quotations 
from The Outlook and the New England :.a--;' zine . in the body of our text, are 
from Articles written by Dr. Smith when over eights years old. It surely 
is not to be wondered at if his memory was then uncertain, and apparently 
he retained no definite data giving the exact year. (H.L.M.) 


Reproduction of the original broadside 
of the hymn 


(to appear on page opposite 
page 1SZ) 

The third stanza, as here given, has been omitted 
in subsequent publications. 




sunset, I was turning over the leaves of one of 
the music books, when -my eyes rested on the tune 
which is now known as 'America'. I liked the 
spirited movement of it, not knowing it, at the 
time to be 'God Save the King'. I glanced at the 
German words and saw that they were patriotic, and 
instantly felt the impulse to write a patriotic 
hymn of my own, adapted to the tune. Picking up a 
scrap of waste paper which lay near me, I wrote at 
once, probably within half an hour, the hymn 
'America', as it is now known everywhere. The whole 
hymn stands to-day as it stood on the bit of waste 
paper, five or six inches long and two and a half wide." 

As Dr. Smith lias elsewhere explained (see the Llew England Magazine 
for January, 1895) the hymn was soon forgotten by him, "but recalled 
to my memory by finding that Mr. Llason had made it a part of the pro- 
gramme of his children's Fourth of July celebration on the following 

anniversary, 1832 ^1831} , in Park Street Church. It was under the in- 

spiration communicated by Ur. Mason that I also wrote the hymn ' The 

morning 1 jjght is breaking, ' The Prince of salvation in triumph is 

£ X 
riding',' the German motet, ' Mora of Zion 1 s glory 1 ,* 'Sister, thou wast 

mild and lovely and many others." 

Not infrequently did the two men collaborate in this manner, Mason 
supplying musical settings for verses sent him by Smith -- a custom the 
former enjoyed, indeed, with many another writer as well. 

But imagine the emotions of the author, taken completely by sur- 
prise as he was, and the emotions too of the audience that filled the 
church, as in unison the unprecedented chorus of two hundpo d children's 
voices sang out the lines: 

My country, 'tis of thee, 
Sweet land of liberty, 

Of thee I sing; 
Land where my fathers died, 
Land of the pilgrims' pride, 
From every mountain side 

Let freedom ring! 


as 5. 

Interesting and stirring accounts of the hymn's subsequent 
history are many: of how it soon made its way into district school 
and Sunday School, into the hymnals of various denominations (the first 
of these being Mason's The Choir , 1832), on battle field, camp ground 


and in hospital; and of how when Americans gather throughout the world 

to celebrate the day marking their country's independence they sing 

this song of patriotism, this "joyful paes.n of thanksgiving and pledge 

of infinite promise , 'with its last and prayerful stanza: 

Our fathers 1 God, to Thee, 
Author of liberty, 

To Thee we sing; 
Long may our land be bright 
With freedom' s holy light; 
Protect us by Thy might, 

Great God, our King. 

Although never officially adopted as a National Anthem, America 
has been generally regarded as such for a century and more. "The people 
took it into their hearts"," as its author once remarked in referring to 
the hymn's early history; and so likewise have the people of successive 
generations, — thus squaring fact with ike prophetic note of tribute, — 

l 6M*y- A 

the Tribute of a Harvard classmate, Dr. Oliver '.Tendell Holmes, and a 


long-time friend: 

Samuel F. Smith, 
Author of America . 

While through the land the strains resound, 
What added fame can love impart 
To him who touched the string that found 
Its echo in a nation's heart? 

1. In The Christian Register , of July 12, 1917, appears the following 
note: "The manuscript of this poem, the existence of which was 
unknown, was found recently among the papers of a relative of 
Samuel F. Smith." 


No stormy ode, no fiery march 
His gentle memory shall prolong. 
But on fair Freedom's climbing arch 
He shed the light of hallowed song. 

Full many a poet's labored lines 

A century's creeping waves will hide, 

The verse a people's love enshrines 

Stands like a rock that breasts the tide. 

Time wrecks the proudest piles we raise, 
The towers, the domes, the temples fall, 
The fortress crumbles and decays, 
One breath of song outlasts them all. 

The spirited singing of the more \han two hundred children contributed its 
quota to the impressiveness of. the celebration. Pews thereof rapidly spread, 
with the result that ere long many persons, although not present themselves, 
became as convinced as was the great audience of the occasion, that children 
could be taught to sing, and that it was distinctly to their advantage further- 
more to be so taught. 

An event, indicative of the possibility at least of ultimate success for the 

project uppermost in Mason's mind, now shortly took plsce. In December, 1831, 

as is related in a "Historical Sketch" forming a portion of the Annual Report 


of the School Committee of the Cit:, of Boston , for 1658, an ably-drav.n report 

was presented to the Primary School Board (which *.t t'---t ti,--*- acted indepen- 

S> 2 A 

dently of the School Committee; by G. H. Snelling, Chairman of a Special Com- 


mittee appointed for the purpose and to whom was referred the subject of the 
introduction of instruction in Vocj.1 Iftisic into the Primary Schools ." This re- 
port, unequivocally favorable to the adoption of music as a regular study, 
closed with the following resolution: 

Resolved, That one school from each district be selected 
for the introduction of systematic instruction in vocal music, 
under the direction of a committee to consist of one from each 
district and two from the standing committee. 

Here, then, was an encouraging step forward. Only after heated discussion, 
however, strong opposition, and more than a month's delay, was the report ac- 
cepted- and its recommendations adopted^ as of 17 January, 1852. And yet, even 
despite its acceptance, implacable seemed the Fates^and far from propitious — 
1 -trie scroll oT clotho flaunting sinister words, the frowning brow of Lachesis 
foreboding ill I 

/ Thus it came about that the suggested plan of lessons received but a partial 
! trial, and that the Report of the special committee fsiled of its intended effect. 
Nothing daunted but incited rather to further effort, Mason unswervingly carriec 

1. The original draft of this Report, in longhanlij has recently (9 June, 1938) 
come into the present writer's possession. It is transcribed verbatim as Appen- 
dix B. 

2. George Henry Snelling (1801-189:2), practiced through many years the profession 
of law at Boston, the city of his birth. At the time of his death he was the 
second oldest surviving graduate of Harvard College, Class of 1819, for which 
he had prepared at the Boston Public Latin School. He enjoyed the somewhat 
unique distinction of having obtained an honorary degree of A. B. from Yale 

in the same year that he reeeived'^a&fai kc degr ee from Harvard. A member for 
several years of the Boston Primary School Board, he likewise served as one of 
the ten Counsellors of the Boston Academy of Music during the pentab following 
its inauguration in 1853. . 

Having closely observed for a considerable period Lowell Mason's activities 
in behalf of introducing musical instruction into the public schools, Snelling, 
a stanch believer in Mason's ideas, incorporated various of these in the Spe.- 
cial Committee's Report, of which he chiefly was the writer. 


on the courses of instruction with his various classes of children, ranging 
in ages from six years upwards. So successful were these efforts — and let us 
not forget the invigorating cooperation of the teacher's earnest and devoted 
young pupils — that five months later the outcome was hailed with enthusiasm 
by a large audience on the occasion of a Juvenile Concert, 15 June, 1852. The 
impression made by the excellent singing of the children, renewing and amplify- 
ing the effect produced at the Fourth of July celebrations of 1830 and 1851, 
was recorded in a Boston contemporary weekly publication, The Juvenile Rambler 
of 20 June, 1852, in these words: 

On Wednesday evening last [i.e. June l|]a Juvenile Concert was 
given in Rev. Dr. Beecher's church in Boston, under the direction 
of Mr. Lowell Mason. More than twenty excellent pieces of music 
were performed, wholly by children, many of whom were not more than 
six or seven years of age. Their number was from one to two hundred, 
of both sexes. All were neatly dressed, and appeared with cheerful 
countenances and melodious voices. They had been under the instruc- 
tion of Mr. Mason, twice a week for about a year. Their manner, gov- 
ernment of voice, correct time, exact and distinct accent, joined to 
the kindness, humanity, and piety of the sentiments, had a most happy 
effect upon the feelings of the audience, who could scarcely be dis- 
suaded from expressing their applause by loud cheers. 

The pieces were some of them of German and Swiss origin; others 
were composed by Mr. Mason. The exercises lasted about an hour and a 
half; during which Mr. Wm. C. Woodbridge delivered a short address on 
the importance of having all the children in this country learn to 
sing, like those of Switzerland and Germany; and the facility with 
which it may be accomplished. 

About 1000 spectators attended. The tickets were 50 cents each, 
25 for children, and the profits were devoted to the support of infant 
schools in the city. 

In compliance with a popular request, the Concert was repeated one week lat- 
er, as stated in a second notice in the Juvenile Rambler : 

We are happy to learn that the Juvenile Concert above mentioned 
will be repeated under the direction of Mr. Mason, at Dr. Beecher's 
church in Bowdoin Street, this evening (Wednesday) at 8 o'clock. Many 
were unable to obtain seats on the first evening; and the number of 
disappointed this evening will probably be greater. The price of tick- 
ets, the same as before. 

Thus as a means of stimulating public interest and of extending public 

confidence and influence, the assistance of Mason's Juvenile Choir and Class 


Members — for which he was ever grateful — proved a potent factor in 
winning supporters of the cause he championed. 

At this juncture, a favorable oppofctunity arose for Mason to deliver the 
lecture before the American Institute of Instruction , as agreed upon, it will 
be recalled, as soon as conditions permitted. In August, 1832, then, he ap- 
peared at the Institute's third annual meeting as one of the sixteen lecturers 
comprising the roster for that year. The subject assigned him by the Committee 
of Arrangements was his i.iode of Teaching Vocal Music in Classes after the 
Lie t hod of Pestalozzi . This he explained at some length referring in the course 
of his remarks to certain passages in the Preface of the then recently pub- 
lished Juvenile Lyre., stressing the facts that the erroneous impression as to 
an inability of children to sing was fortunately undergoing a marked change, 


and tke "the number of the young who receive instruction, and make successful 

progress in this art, is rapidly increasing." As a welcome verification of his 

statements, his young friends of the children's choir sang a number of songs 

from the Juvenile Lyre which they had recently learned — Charming little 

valley r 0, come to the garden , Little cooling meadow spring f and others. Once 
again, as on the occasion of the Voodbridge lecture, the audience responded 
enthusiastically, delight mingling with surprise as the fresh, euphonious 
voices joyously and accurately met the call; but at the children's ready 
replies to questions put them as to music's fundamentals — melody, rhythm, 
tempo, for instance, scales and keys — the captivated listeners evinced utter 

1, To Lowell Mason, Charming little valley , with its K. G. Nageli melody, was 
one of the most beautiful of his many children's songs. In his later book, 
The Hallelujah (1854), he writes of this; "Try it, ye sons and daughters of 
song j let it be oft repeated, until the true idea is brought out in your 
soul, until every unhallowed and turbulent passion is conquered, and peace 
and quietness reign within, until you know in your hearts the meaning of 
those beautiful words of the Psalmist, 'Thy gentleness hath made me great.'" 

n± io*oal j-aaJ-oq a baro-iq — Xul9*a-i3 i3ve 8bw ad rfoirfw iol — BiadmaU 

.banoiqmado ed eauao ed* lo 8T9iioqqi/3 ■&a±nai* 

ad* -ieviXeb o* noeail iol eeo-ia ^lau*4oqqo aXda-ioval b .ewtoaut lid* *A 
XXiw *i «noqx/ bea-x^a bb , poi*Din*BnI 3,0. 9*ir*-fc*BflI g^taff| 9 ^ e-ioled emfoeX 
-qB ed «aed* ,SS8X «*8usjjA nl .be**iimaq anoidiJbnoo ae xioob bb t beXXaoaa ad 
nanr*oaX n©e*xia erf* lo ano es 3ni*aem Xaunna b«iirf* a'a^itanl ad* *s beiaeu 
>s**inusoO ed* xd tuid bensiaea j-oa(,di/a edT .xaex *ad* nol ie*aoi ed* afllaitqnoo 
|H -iaila eaaaaXO fli BUmI XaooV ? r flXf[oaeT 2s> jftgj eid asw atuama&ianA. lo 
:aitroo ed* ni gains lei dtyieX emoa *a baniaXqxe ad axdT 3H 

-duq x^aeoei neri* ed* lo aoalei'I ad* al aesaaaisq nia**i90 o* a^iaraai aid lo 
o* bb noiaae-xqaii Bi/oeaoTie sdt *Bd* a*oal ed* s^eaexta t en&I eXiflevuT, badail 
t esflBdo baiTBar b gnioaiabou ^laJBairt-rol asw 30X3 o* naibXirfo lo ^ILldaol oa 
Xuiaaaooua oxain baa t noi*omc*eni avl909T: odw gmro^ ad* lo lacicu/n ari* n ad* boa 
Bid lo noi*B0iliiev emooXaw b eA ".^nieae-ioai x-tk-tq*'* Bi «**ia aid* ni Baai^oaq 
a^noe lo leduuin a sxibb liodo a'naibXido ad* lo abnexil -§ouo\ aid t a*naae*B*a 
al**il iclLeiiB' 10 — benxaiX ^I*neo9i bad ^ed* doiriw aiv:J giigayxfL ad* moil 
aonO .aiari*o bna ^ rJ/iaa vyobBo;.; c tnxXoop j^tiM tfl&fe3fii 2d£ Si sjl°2. <2 il&LLSZ 
bebaoqaei eoneiiwa ed* ,en/*oeI a^biidboo ad* lo noieBOoo art* no bb t xxia S B 
ai/oinoriqira t daeil ed* aa eaiiqu/a rf*iw aaiiaaiin MgiXeb t xXXaoi*3aieud*ne 
Xbaei a'natbXido erf* *a *ud flXao ed* *exa ^Xe^swoDfl bna ^leuo^ot aeoiov 

ari*Xdt t xboXera aX3*nafliaioi;'i a'oiainn o* bb nted* *;jq anoi*a9irp o* aoiXqgi 

i9**x; beociv9 atane*eiX ba*av £***!»') ad* — a^atf htm eslaos t eona*aai lol t oqme* 

i *lo ed *i *eX {^noa lo 
lo abiow lulifuaed 9aoii* 


amazement, while on motion of Vice-President Carter a vote was unanimously 

passed "that the thanks of the Institute be returned to Lowell Mason, for 


his interesting lecture on and illustrations in Vocal Music." 

Gladdened by the encouraging reaction thus far manifested by the public, 
as by that of the American Institute of Instruction and other societies, but 
believing that only the most cogent influence obtainable would prove convinc- 
ing to the still hesitant members of the School Committee, Mason now formu- 
lated a plan to secure for the movement tne advocacy of a well-ordered, com- 
petent organization. Assured of the active cooperation of William Channing 
Woodbridge, George H. Snelling, Jacob Abbott, George James Webb, Samuel Atkins 
Eliot, Julius A. Palmer and other friends, who for a considerable time had 
evinced pronounced interest in his undertakings, he would have welcomed at this 
point the assistance also of the Handel and Haydn Society, whose president he 
had been since 1827. But its Board of Governors, maintaining that the activity 
of the Society should be in the interests of classical rather than elementary 
music, refrained from taking any action in the matter whatsoever. Thereupon, 

in 1852, Llason definitely retired from t h e p re sid ency, that he might to a full- 


er extent apply both tirce and attention to the purpose he considered all- 
important (he had declined re-election in 1851 but his declination had gone 
unheeded) . 

And so it was that he now proposed to a group of prominent citizens his 
plan for organizing a distinct association — an outstanding object of 
which should be the addition of music-study to the public school curriculum, 

The cordial response and the earnestness with which his proposal was met 

1. As recorded in the Journal of Proceedings of the American Institute . Bos- 
ton. Carter, Hendee and Co. 1855. 

■gosabeq-olaxrm lo loorfoa benedrraio XVSASjW* dei^i ecu ■& juas — 

, 'p. 4 .- ' ■ O'j '-'i MB • . i 

■ aiii oectxaXqxe aoaa^ aoxci* ruxw esenjoetxi) ecu "^a osae*. t*i- x 

. , _ + r ff _ - ,_-{ v+tbiXav a'/usla ecu lo beoaxvnoo baa 

leibXlrio aid to &&di ai aa x Ti.odo axci lo aaxgnxa ecu ni boarf da etew riol:(w 
tbba ex/dd nam erid «5dT©anoo eXxaevi/t &di lo ix^e.Ti erfd ai oala baa t a9aeaXo 

. , , . f , r r n „Ha«rpf' {+na rtala Bid saiaiobae vXartsw 

3 Bdx xyxawod ntxri ndXw oejaxxne jixiiOxj«»xBi*.ioiio ^ubj-h a 

tf&s tt. -u>»*A .aoxd3sxXaen 
dXxet oX qxxIetebaeX lo oac eiew otf beXaeqqa anosxdxo bebnxai-olXduq edT 
lecio ax eoaebxlaoo bedariaaw aaxxciada arte v- LxXCjfl 9« on " usm 
od aa ^nXoaxvnoo lXeadX lo esw eai/ao a cti leiX9d boaeeiqxe eeoriw {jneacgaifC 
doaa 2-oedo od XJtal doa bXxroo Xavotqqa eeoriw baa ,eaxrao dadd lo eoneXXeoxs 
tflil edd iol MexXedou baa eoxbute^q lo aXXvao" ecu noil 9aoia aa acxdxe 
rL4f h id-xw beioelee ot>jw quo*ra edd aaidadxdaaoo elsmbixlbal eiota 

rinea lo adli:^ XbXosctbp add od ,eXad 

bcra aiodaocrba ,e©atvxb t eie>c*^ 

xddoaXxdq bo* edaano*iea t aiX8ioxaxfffl ,eicru 
blexle lal ood air v 1 * 1 * 3 od 919-v Xladeb ax 

.saifliB ed aqadiaq don 
obwoS lo edaubat: A .aoo aaw r nadd tddod^ dooaL .veH .fdX ( , ^jfl 
vtAfLL-BftS Xpox-acXcdiiT aevoboA ecu lo tedaX ba9 t CS8I lo aaalo 
sex#e*rii ed 8S8X nx aa ,eIqXonliq sdd aaw t oodeoS ax 39±dd©e 
adi lo noxd-Luldeai 7eeaoiq a t Xoocio3 aooiaV imidL erld lo t te 
.pp« vfAsoin bXtX^ ' jo noxdaoube -r&duLi erid *tol besxaaano boa 

310V&2 ^.flxcne oaco axr 

' Thg' rei3T^sent ; &tipn of the silver pitcher below is/to be printed 
ir>^+>:et^xt , e±tt?gi>.- jjnr..e4i*- t c 1 y iollo*"ing.4J£»x^ 
l&S7"t5r" r el£e on"-tlie-pe».ger"*Opposi+ e p. 183. rw to, t ? o 

The Silver Pitcher, here represented , bears the following inscrip- 
tion : 

Presented by the Juvenile Choir 


their much respected & beloved 


Boston, Jan'y 1st, 1855 




was held by them in high esteem, being elected to office, for the years 


1830 and 1831, in the American Institute of Instruction, a Trustee in 
1834 of Phillips Exeter Academy, etc., etc. 

Possessed of an uncommon talent for tea.ching and governing the young, 
Abbott appealed to their sense of honor, to the conscience of his pupils, 
rather than to their fears. aimed at all times jto quicken the interests 

of his students in plans c/mceived for their welfare, delegating power to 

Jr / Jr, i 

them as freely as migh* / be, thus rendering h%& school in large measure 

'ji ins s w^ucii us ±ii pxtuii. 

/ / 

a self-governing body. He diligently encouraged his pupils to realize 

the importance of the part they themselves played in the working- out of 
his plans tqr success or failure. 

^'SL^have known men as fond of children as my father", writes his son, 
the late Revy Lyman Abbott, in his Silhouettes of my Contemporaries , 
"but I have never known a man who had for them such respect. In a true 
sense, it might be said that he treated children as his equals, not through 
any device or from any scheme, but spontaneously and naturally. He trusted 
the judgment of children, took counsel with them, and in all matters 
which concerned them and their world was greatly influenced by their judg- 
ments. * ■ * * He threw responsibility upon them, great responsibility, 
and they realized it." 

'"' Though -Abbott issued but few school- injunctions, he required unhesi- 
tating, strict compliance with the few he did issue; and though he 
abolished petty restrictions and narrowing regulations, abandoning birch 
\ rod and hickory ferule as symbols of school- room discipline, he made clear 

1. See p. 108, American Annals of Education and Instruction , Vol. 1, 
No. II, September, 1830. 


to his pupils the importance of unquestioned obedience; while as for author- 
ity, which of course there must be — supreme, final, and centring in the 
teacher ~ it should be an authority, he believed, "secured and maintained 
as far as possible by moral measures." 

TIE have known children to disobey him", adds his son, "but I never 
knew one to rebel against him. I do not know what would have happened in 
case of a rebellion. I think no child ever thought of it as possible. 
J-Hever knew him to strike a blow." 

In 1834 Jacob Abbott's The Teacher was published, j\ In^he words of 
its^reface the book "is intern:" ed to detail, in a familiar and practical 
manner, a^system of arrangements for the organi nation and management of 
a school, based oX x the employment, so far as is practicable, of Loral 
Measures, as a means of\ef fecting the objects in view. Its design is, 
not to bring forward new theories or new plans, but to develop and explain, 
and to carry out to their practidal application such principles as, 
among all skillful and experienced teabhers, are generally admitted and 
acted upon. Of course it is not designed for the skillful and experienced 
themselves, but it is intended to embody what they-- already know, and to 
present.- itin a practical form for the use of those who are" beginning the 
work, and who wish to avail themselves of the experience which others have 
acquired. " 

/^The germ in which the book found its source was a descriptive pamphlet 
X^/of the School, a copy being presented to each new pupil on the day of enrol- 
ment. Indeed, a pupil's first duty was to read the description with care, that 
the methods of the institution might be thoroughly understood. 

Under the caption The Mount Vernon School the pamphlet forms a chapter 
of The Teacher , as finally published. 



From the book's three hundred end fifty or more pages Wi cite a 

single passage — though typical it is of many. Would that throughout 

the intervening years the purport of even this passage alone had been 

universally heeded! 

Never get out of patience with dullness. Perhaps 
I ought to say, never get out of patience v/ith anything. 
That would be the wisest rule. But above sll things, 
remember that dullness and stupidity, Mid you will 
certainly find them in every school, are the very last 
things to get out of patience with. If the Creator has 
so formed the mind of a boy, that he must go through 
life slowly and with difficulty, impeded by obstructions 
which others do not feel, and depressed by discourage- 
ments which others do not know, his lot is surely hard 
enough, without having you to add to the trials and suf- 
ferings, which sarcasm and reproach from you, can heap 
upon him. Look over your schoolroom therefore, and 
wherever you find one, whom you perceive the Creator to 
have endowed with less intellectual power than others, 
fix your eye upon him with an expression of kindness and 
sympathy. Such a boy -ill have suffering enough from 
the selfish tyranny of his companions; he ought to find 
in you, a protector raid friend. 

Of the various measures employed by Abbott, several, owing to their 
well-tested efficacy, have for years formed a part of our general edu- 
cational system. As in his practice he humanized the relationship between 
pupil and teacher, so he dignified childhood — thereby ennobling the 
profession which he followed. 

And yet, more especially, as author it was. that Abbott became 
widely known, and his name a household wordj the fascination of his 
spontaneous stvle — clear, vanning, picturesque — leading thousands 
upon thousands, both young and old, to read and to re-read his Hollo 
Books , the Franco nia Stories , the Marco Paul Series and many another 
tale of his facile creation. Imbued with touches of ingenuous humor, 
instructive historical event and friendly interest, his entertaining 
stories carried to numberless souls their messages of good-will, moral 



102- / 

incentive, and practicality. They appeared at a time, too, when the young were 
woefully belittled; when in keeping with the postulate of a deep-rooted but 
relentless philosophy it was all-too-commonly believed that the instincts of 
childhood should be suppressed — those very instincts the development of 
which a saner, more palatable philosophy posits as nature's means for the 
preservation of the individual, — and hence of the race! 

A second member of the group was the Rev. David Greene (1791-1866), 
well-known and highly esteemed in the religious and educational life of his 
time. Graduating from Yale with the class of 1821, Greene spent the following 
year in teaching at a private school for young ladies, in Boston. He then 
H e tfta n studied for the Congregational ministry, at the Andover Theological 
Seminary ^although prior to taking a pulpit he was prevailed upon to accept 
the Principalship of Amherst Academy. Toward the close of 1826 he became one of 
two Assistants to the Corresponding Secretary of the American Board of 
Commissioners for Foreign Missions — thus being closely associated with 
Jeremiah Evarts (1781-1831), Corresponding Secretary at the time and distin- 
guished for the notable part he took in the movement to obtain justice for 
Indian tribes. As a consequence, Greene now traveled extensively, covering 
some six thousand miles and visiting no less than thirty missions. Meanwhile, 
moreover, he served for years as Editor of the Missionary Herald, and in 1852, 

upon the death of Mr. Evarts, he -hiia self became Secretary of the American Board. 


A 1831, collaborating with Lowell Mason, he participated in the compila- 
tion of a somewhat unique hymnal, the Church Psalmody * The book's 
uniqueness lay in the unusual care exercised as to the selection of 
hymns — that each might be in every respect appropriate and pertinent 
to its special purpose. Two years later a separate edition of the book 
entitled the Manual of Psalmody was issued, a variant of the original and 
embodying certain alterations designed particularly for the Baptist de- 
nomination. Inasmuch as the Church Psalmody contained upwards of seven 
hundred hymns as well as a goodly number of Psalms, and reached a dis- 
tribution of over one hundred and fifty thousand copies, it constituted 
an important contribution to the hymnody of the period. As a result it 
won the auspicious approval of the Pastoral Association of Massachusetts . 

Thus Greene's influence, helpfully constructive, was widely felt; and to 

5?v\^-T*^rj *rhi 

the cause of the Academy , common surately advantageous. 


A third member was the Hon. Julius A. Palmer (1802-72), brother of 
the Rev. Ray Palmer, D.D., author of several of the church's most cherish- 
ed hymns. 

"Deacon" Palmer (as he was generally and justly called), prominent 
as merchant and financier, certainly proved the truth of the adage that 
the busier a man is the more time he seems to have. For in addition to 
his close attention to matters of business — being a partner in a lead- 
ing Boston firm — he was active in both the religious and the civic 


life of his city and state. "He bore a part", explains Congregational 


Quarterly for January, 1872, "in the government of the city at one time, 
and was repeatedly elected to the legislature of the State, first to 

1. It was at Palmer's suggestion that the Committee (of which he was the 
leading member, and referred to on p.B^) invited Lowell Mason, in 
1827, to remove from Savannah to Boston»\ 

too a 1< 

iood erii- lo no'cribe eJ-ansqea b is*b1 naa^ owT .eaoq-suq loxoaqa Btt o* 
ib Isnxgiio arid - lo JobIibv a ,beuBax aB* yboaxlga c ' lo XamisM erf* baXtx-frrxa 

-tib b berioBQi baa ^hIbb^ lo nrfrtun ^Xbooa a ss XXew aa anaqt 

axii- oJ nox^udxxJ-noo tnatoooia?: xta 

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194 /?r 

the house of representatives and afterward to the senate. He was connected 
with the administration of various charitable institutions. Such was his repu- 
tation for integrity and wisdom that many trusts were urged upon him, and ac- 
cepted and faithfully discharged. From the time when he united with the church 
in 1822, to the final failure of his health, his Christian life was calmly 
and steadily progressive and fruitful in well-doing. Serious in spirit and firm 
in purpose, he was yet habitually cheerful, and rarely, if ever, lost, under 
any momentary impulse, the power of acting according to his deliberate judg- 
ment. He thus won the confidence of others, and most entirely that of those 
who knew him best." 

A fourth member of the group was the able ^.-refined musician, George James 
Webb (1805-87), who, though of English birth and originally intended for the 
Church, had^ through a change in plans reeen^ly- come to the United States, set- 
tling at Boston, — the city which for two score years thenceforth was to be 
his home. As teacher of the voice and the pianoforte; as organist of two promi- 
nent Boston churches — the Old South and Saint Paul ' s (now Cathedral ) ; as 
conductor-president of the Handel and Haydn Society from 1838 to 1841, and 
director in 1845 of the Boston Academy's Orchestra (being the first in Boston, 
'tis said, to employ a baton); as co-editor, with Mason, of the monthly period- 
ical The Musical Library (1835-6), and later, in 1841, with T. B. Hayward, of 
the quarto-form monthly, The Musical Cabinet; as co-conductor with Mason of the 
choral organization, The Boston Musical Education Society , founded in 1858; as 
director, a decade subsequently, of Boston's then sole concert-orchestra, which 
succeeded that of the Boston Academyk t the latter 's disbandment in 1847, and 

Webb in turn served as president); and, finally, as composer, Webb occupied in 

which was sponsor ea by the Musical Fund Society (of which Lowell Mason and 


community a position of distinction, contributing in a marked degree 
to the musical development centring in his adopted city* His memory, 
moreover, is brightly alive to-day; for his internationally- beloved 
hymn- tune, now bearing nis name (though at first called Goodwin , occasion- 
ally T intern . Millennial Dawn , New York , and still often referred to as 
Morning Light) maintains its place in Protestant hymnals of all denomin- 
ations, being sung by religious communions throughout the world. Com- 
posed at sea in 1830 while Webb was bound for America, and written orig- 
inally as a setting for secular stanzas beginning f Tis dawn , the lark is 
singing: , the music shortly appeared in the form in which it has now been 
known and valued by Christian worshipers for above a century. And although 
it has been adapted from time to time to hymns of various authors, the 
tune \7ebb has long been most closely associated with two in particular! 
one, Stand up , stand up for Jesus , oy the Rev. George Duf field, Jr. 
(1818-88), wrixxen in 1858; and the other — a favorite of favorites, es- 
pecially among missionaries, having been translated into numerous languages 
— the evangelical lyric of glad tidings and firm hope, The morning light 
is breaking , written in 1832 by the Rev. Samuel Francis Smith. 

WebVs well-grounded musical equipment and his untiring application, 
his flexible adaptability to environment and customs alien to those of 
his youth, were as speedily welcomed by his co-workers as his unalloyed 
goodness of heart and personal charm, — qualifications not only nighly 
valued in themselves but wholly favorable to the undertaking in hand. 

Still another member of the group was the Hon. George William Gordon 
(1801-77), already spoken of in connection with his early assistance to 
Mason and now, 1833, senior partner of a well-known firm of importers, 
Gordon and Stoddard, though his mercantile activities were by no means 

a« oJ- beneiei rteJlo ILifn hrus « *ioY voW. s tared iBiraiellxH « tno#cxT ^ 

tiBluvi$~tBq ox owt rifriw botei.ooeaa ^I«eoIc ae<*d gaol eari ddeW < 
tflgxuxsael ei/oiacum oJnx betaleaitiit need gnir.sjr{ «e©XT r;ciaei.n g/iotas y[J** 

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his sole interests. 

From 1831 to 1836 Gordon served as a member of the Boston City 
Council | and for five years subsequently as a director in one of the 
city's important institutions. During the exciting presidential cam- 
paign of 1840, though yet engaged in business, he became prominently 
active in support of General Harrison. Upon the election of the latter 
as President of the United States, the Hon. Abbott Lawrence suggested 
to Gordon (who neither desired nor expected office) that the citizens 
of Boston would welcome his appointment as Postmaster of the city. 
Highly appreciative of the honor thus implied and at the solicitations 
of many friends, Gordon consented to stand as a candidate for the office. 
Forthwith a Paper, bearing the signatures of close to nine hundred of 
Boston's best- known citizens, and reading as follows, was addressed to 

The President of the United States. 

The undersigned, citizens of Boston, respectfully 
recommend Mr. George William Gordon for the office 
of Postmaster, of this city. Mr. Gordon is a merchant 
of integrity, a gentleman of unblemished reputation, 
and of acknowledged public and private moral worth. 
Such is the estimation in which he is held by his 
friends and neighbors, that we have good reason to 
believe he will have no competitor who will so 
generally coiamand the approval of the community. 

Boston, February, 1841. 

Suffice it to state that Gordon was appointed by the President, 

with the unanimous consent of the Senate, to the Postmaster ship of 

Boston. His discharge of official duties won the approbation of the 

community throughout a period of nearly three years, when President 

Tyler, for political reasons alone it is said, deemed it necessary to 

appoint a successor. It may be added, however, that in 1851, wholly 

unexpectedly to him until the very evening on which the nomination 

\tlO xn xfeoS lo isdwem z as b«vna3 nobtoO £}£8I o& I£8I laci! 


91 «K<X3 

•2 OX XX 

was made, Gordon, at the suggestion of Daniel VJebster, was re-appointed 
to the office, by President Fillmore. Dur/fjig the interim, moreover, 
he^faad represented the Federal Government as consul at Rio de Janeiro, 
and it was perhaps during his two years as such that the most vital of 
the many significant acts of his public life took place* Appalled at the 
alarming condition and, extent of the slave trade as carried on between 
the coasts of Africa and ETfazil, by means of American vessels under the 
safeguard of the American flag, he spared no pains toward effecting a 


suppression of the nefarious traffic. As a result of his valiant inter- 
cession many a human being was freed from the ulinatural subjugation of 
enslavement, while the execrable traffic itself received^a^t&lling blow. 

Combining business sagacity and administrative ability with a charact- 
er of moral worth, Gordon enjoyed the respect of those who knew him, as of 
those who but knew of him; as Recording Secretary of the Academy, from 1333 
to 1838, he thus exerted an influence upon its progress no less beneficial 
than marked. 

The final member of the group, for our present consideration, though 
by -no Hoans-tfee-^egtoi^ was the Hon. Samuel Atkins Eliot (1728-1862), distin 
guished representative of a distinguished family, and a citizen whose long 
career of disinterested, various public service rendered him a notable bene 

factor of his time. 

Graduating from Harvard College with the class of 1817, young 
Eliot, faithful to the wish of his father, entered the Harvard Divinity 
School. Here he pursued the study of theology throughout the course, 
receiving his S.T.^B. degree in 1820; and although, owing to various 
circumstances, he was never ordained to the ministry, he uninterruptedly 
retained his interest in sacred literature — an interest to which he 

gave expression some years later in his Observations on the Bible , 


for the use of Young- Persons, a book bearing ample witness, in the 
words of the late Rev. A. P. Peabody, 

to the author's thorough study of his subject, to the 
firmness of his religious faith, and to his profound 
reverence for its sacred records. It covers the ground 
occupied by what are commonly called 1 Introductions" 
to the Old and New Testaments. It is fully level with 
the best scholarship of its time (1842); and though 
some portions of it have been made obsolete in the 
progress of biblical criticism, the larger part of it, 
if reprinted, would replace, to the lasting benefit 
of the rising generation, the less carefully studied 
and less conscientiously written works of the kind, 
which sometimes minister to unreasoning skepticism 
rather than to a reasonable faith. 

Inheriting a comfortable fortune on the death of his father, early 

in 1820, and thus enabled to engage in pursuits other than that of 

gaining a livelihood, Eliot devoted several years to further study, 

concentrating, both at home and abroad, on modern languages, belles- 

lettres, and music. But after a lengthy European sojourn, passed in 
studious application, travel, and close observation of foreign manners, 

1. Among the Lowell Mason memorabilia there is still preserved a copy 

of this book, on the flyleaf of ■sshich appears the following inscript- 
ion: "Lowell Mason, Esq., with the best regards of the author".*'* And 
to this, but in another^ hand, is added: "From Sam'l A. Eliot. This 
book was never published, but was written by Mr* Eliot, who had it 
printed for the use, especially, of his own children; so he told me 
when he presented me with this copy. Lowell Mason 1 ' * 

2. From Harvard Graduates whom I have known, by Andrew Preston Peabody, 
D. Da, LL. D. (Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1890). 

3. During his stay in Europe, Eliot "acquired much knowledge of music" 
and "skill in singing" (see Charles W, Eliot , by Henry James, Vola 1, 
p. 11), while after his return to Boston he for several years was in 
charge of music at King's Chapel and leader also of its volunteer 
choir, the members of which, at his invitation, frequently met for 
rehearsal at his residence. 

customs and institutions, he was only too happy to turn his face home- 
ward, toward family, friends, and an environment far more congenial; for 


he realized, as never before, that while "an aim in life , ,J as Robert 
Louis Stevenson says in The Amateur Emigrant , "is the only fortune worth 

the finding, it is not to be found in foreign lands, but in the heart 


rtseif » 

Shortly following his return to Boston, Eliot married, in 1826, 
Mary Lyman, daughter of the wealthy, philanthropic merchant, Theodore 
Lyman, Sr., (a brother, by the way, of the Rev. Joseph Stevens Buck- 
minster's step-mother). A marriage of happiness this proved to be, of 
reciprocal helpfulness materially and spiritually, and blessed in the 
course of time by the advent of several children — among whom was one 
son, Charles William Eliot (1834-1926), president for forty years of 
Harvard University. 


Mr. Henry James, in his recent Biography of the son, gives a graphic 
delineation of the father as well, and a portion of this we herewith 
quote : 

He was both a useful and decorative citizen. He 
was a man of handsome presence and he dressed, morning 
and evening, till the day of his death, in the swallow- 
tail coat and dark trousers that were then worn by dig- 
nified gentlemen. His talk and carriage were somewhat 
heavily ceremonious. But he was the kind of person 
people liked to see in positions of public trust, and 
his considerable abilities inspired confidence. 

Versatile of mind, s.ltruistic of spirit, to say nothing of his wide, 

influential connections through both blood and marriage, Eliot from now 

1. -Sae Vol. I, p. 27, Charles W. Eliot , President of Harvard University , 
1869-1909 , by Henry James. "(Houghton Mifflin Company, 1930). 

ioiI3 t notBoH o& 

.•Tr; . m 


on was called upon (during a period, be it said, when the office sought the 
man rather than the man the office) to fill numerous "positions of public 
trust" — several of which fortunately enabled him to render timely service 
to the group's interests. Nor was the confidence in his "considerable abili- 
ties" at any time misplaced; for, if from the very multiplicity of his activ- 
ities — educational, civic, musical, financial, religious, literary, social, 
philanthropic — it may seem that a requisite concentration for success in any 
one of these was necessarily wanting, he nevertheless exhibited in all a re- 
markable singleness and firmness of purpose, soundness of judgment, and reso- 
lute fidelity. 

V.ith a discerning sense of the pro bono publico importance of Mason's plan, 
Eliot, as we have seen, had been from the first a fervent upholder of its 
aims — a convincing fact of influence among his various friends and acquaint- 
ances, many of whom in due time joined the Academy as Charter Members, and a 
fact too of mounting influence as events shortly taking place presented 
broader opportunities for its appeal. In December, 1S53, eleven months after th 
Academy's inauguration, Eliot was elected a member of the Public School Com- 
mittee; and likewise , for the period 1854-5, of the Board of Aldermen, whereby 
he became, automatically, a member of the City Council — one of the functions 
of which was the appropriating of funds for Public School use. In December, 
1856, capping the climax as it were, he was elected Mayor of Boston; ana upon 
being twice re-elected to this office (which at the time was of one year's du- 
ration) he served as the city's chief magistrate for the years 1857, 1838, 
1859. As such, in accordance with the City's Charter, he became, ex officio . 
Chairman of the School Committe — a veritable vantage-ground from which to 
explain, and to commend, a highly important purpose of the forthcoming 
Academy . namely, the introduction of vocal music into the public schools, and 
to clear away furthermore such misgivings regarding that purpose as were 
entertained by those of his fellow-committee men who still remained 


"doubting-Thomases . " 

But we anticipate} and now resume the thread of our story. 

Following several preliminary conferences held by the men aforementioned, 
and others, a meeting was at length called with the view of taking some sort 
of definite, final action. The outcome was that on January 8, 1833, (by happy 
coincidence the anniversary of Mason's birthday!), The Boston Academy of 
Music was formally organized. 

Six months subsequently, under date of July 3, 1833, the Academy 
issued its first Annual Report. This contains its Constitution, the objects 
to engage its attention, the act of incorporation granted by the General 
Court (March 22, 1833), and other details, including a list of officers, as 
follows : 

Jacob Abbott 
David Greene 
George Wm. Gordon 

Vice President 
Recording Secretary 

William C. Woodbridge Corresponding Secretary 
Julius A. Palmer Treasurer 

Daniel Noyes 
Bela Hunting 
H. M. Willis 
J. S.Withington 
William J. Hubbard 

Lowell Mason Professor 
George James Webb Associate Professor 

George H. Snelling 
Benjamin Perkins 
Moses Grant 
George E. Head 
William W. Stone 


. ne.' 



Re-elect9d at the close of the year, the same men served in their 


respective offices for a second term as -well. 

The Constitution follows, verbatim . 

Art. 1. This Association shall -■"''be called "The Boston 
Academy of Music"; and its object shall be to 
promote knowledges and correct taste in music, 
especially such as is adapted to moral and 
religious purposes. 

Art. 2. The Officers of the Academy shall be a President, 
Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Correspond- 
ing Secretary and Treasurer, who shall perform 
the duties appropriate to their respective titles. 
The five officers above named, ex-officio, and ten 
Counsellors shall constitute the Government of 
the Academy, and shall be chosen by ballot at the 
annual meeting, and hold their offices until others 
are elected. The government may fill any vacancy 
in their number that may occur. 

Art. 3. It shall be the duty of the Government to devise 
and execute measures to accomplish the object of 
the institution, and perform such other duties as 
shall be assigned them by the Academy, expending 
only such funds as shall be placed at their disposal. 

Art. 4. The annual meeting of the Academy shall be on such 
day in the month of May, as the Government shall 
direct, of which suitable notice shall be given. 
Other meetings of the Academy shall be notified by 
the Recording Secretary when directed by the Govern- 
ment or the Academy, or requested in writing by five 
of its members. 

Art. 5. Any individual recommended for admission by the 
Government, may be elected at any meeting of the 
Academy by a vote of two thirds of the members present. 

1. On the last page of a Juvenile Concert program (which may be seen at 
the Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts) is printed a list of the 
Academy's officers. According to this list, Bradford Sumner was then 
president, and William W. Stone a counsellor. Again, on the second 
page of The Psaltery (a Collection of Church Music edited by Lowell 
Mason and George James Webb, 1845) appears an announcement to this 
effect: "The Boston Academy of Music: instituted 1853, incorporated 
1855. Its Presidents have been as follows: Bradford Sumner, William 
W. Stone, Jacob Abbott, Samuel A. Eliot." We conclude that Sumner and 
n- Stone eac^. served as presiding officer for a limited period prior to 

the date of the Academy's First Annual Report, July 3, 1835, which 
names Jacob Abbott as president. 




Art. 6. This constitution may be altered, enlarged, 
or otherwise amended, at any annual meeting, 
by vote of two thirds of the members present; 
provided said amendment shall be recoamended 
by the Government, or shall have been proposed 
by a member of the Academy at a previous meeting. 

As stated in Article 5, a vote of two thirds of the members was 

requisite for the election of any person recommended for admission. The 

earliest membership list extant (to the best of our knowledge) is that 

for the year 1835, of some sixty names; the probability is however that 

this list conformed in the main to that for the year 1833; we therefore 

transcribe it as there printed. 

Members of The Boston Academy of Music. 

Jacob Abbott 
Rufus Anderson 
E. N. Andrews 
Charles Brown 
Joseph Brown 
Abel ¥• Bruce 
Jonas Chickering 
Rufus Choate 
L. S. Crag in 
George W. Crockett 
Pliny Cutler 
Thomas A. Davis 
John Doggett 
Thomas Drown 
James C. Dunn 
Henry Edwards 
Samuel A. Eliot 
Joseph F. Flagg 
George William Gordon 
Moses Grant 
David Greene 
Moses L. Hale 
George E. Head 
Henry Hill 
George S, Hillard 
Albert Howard 
Benjamin Howard 
William J. Hubbard 
Bela Hunting 

J, H. Jewett 
N. C. Keep 
William G. Lambert 
Francis Loring 
William J, Loring 
Theophilus R# Marvin 
Lowell Mason 
Daniel Noyes 
Julius A. Palmer 
Theophilus Parsons 
Benjamin Perkins 
William Pierce 
George Pollock 
Charles Scudder 
M. H. Simpson 
John Slade, Jr. 
George H. Snelling 
Charles Stoddard 
William W. Stone 
Bradford Sumner 
Charles Tappan 
Henry Timmins 
Amasa Walker 
Samuel H. Walley, Jr. 
George James Webb 
Ezra Weston, Jr. 
Horatio M. Willis 
J. S. Withington 
William C. Woodbridge 



t& tl ecfxtoe euni" 

In continuation, the first annual Report runs as follows: 

At a subsequent meeting, a committee was appointed 
to designate the objects to which the labors of the 
Academy should be directed. The following report from 
the Committee will point out most clearly the wide field 
before them, and the multitude of objects to be accom- 
plished, in order to place music in its proper rank in 
our country. 

In submitting their report, however, the Committee stated that they 
considered it impracticable to at once determine just what course would 
be found advisable upon trial, though they nevertheless suggested certain 
objects which they believed should engage the attention of the Academy 
prior to others. And they further stated that in accordance with their 
best judgment they had arranged these objects in the order of their im- 
portance, but with the proviso that it be left to the Government of the 
Academy to select for immediate accomplishment such of the objects as it 
might deem wise. 

The suggested objects were: 

1. To establish schools of vocsl music for Juvenile classes. 

2. To establish similar schools for Adult classes . 

3. To form a class for instruction in t he methods of teaching 
music , which may be composed of Teacners, parents, and all 
other persons desirous to qualify themselves for teaching 
vocal music. 

4. To form an association of choristers , and leading members 
of choirs, for the purpose of improvement in conducting 
and performing sacred music in churGhes. 

5. To establish a course of popular lectares on the nature and 
objects of church music, and style of composition and execu- 
tion appropriate to it, with experimental illustrations by 
the performance of a select choir. These lectures might be 
extended to a great variety of subjects; such as style of 
sacred poetry, the adaptation of music, the prevailing 
defects on this subject, and the means of remedying them, 

6. To establish a course of scientific lectures , as soon as 
circumstances shall permit, for teachers and choristers, 
and others desirous of understanding the science of music. 

7. To establish exhibition of concerts * 

1. Of juvenile and adult classes, to show the results 
of instruction. 

' taon tic ( * 

2. Of select performers, as specimens of the 
best style in the performance of ordinary 
church music* 

3. Of large numbers collected semi-annually 
or annually, for the performance of social, 
moral, and sacred music of a simple kind. 

8. To introduce vocal music into schools , by the aid of such 
teachers as the Academy may be able to employ, each of whom 
shall instruct classes alternately in a number of schools. 

9. To publish circulars and essays , either in newspapers and 
periodicals, or in the form of tracts and books for instruct- 
ion, adapted to the purposes of the Academy. In proposing 

so many subjects deserving attention, the committee do not 
mean to advise that ell these measures should be commenced 
immediately, but only to show how numerous and important 
the subjects before us are, and to urge the Academy to 
immediate and vigorous action. In regard to the method 
of accomplishing these objects, they would suggest what 
they presume will be obvious to every member of the 
Academy, that it is indispensable to employ a Professor , 
who shall occupy himself exclusively in devising and execut- 
ing plans for promoting the views of the Academy; who 
shall act as their general Agent, and who shall be assist- 
ed by the members of the Academy, and by other agents act- 
ing under his direction, as circumstances may require. 

The /cademy can hope to accomplish but few of these objects at 
once; but in order to commence, as efficiently as possible, a 
series of efforts for their attainment, the government of the So- 
ciety divided themselves into a number of Committees, each of which 
was devoted to some special branch of labor. 

In order to avail themselves of the facilities of action afford- 
ed by a charter, the Academy subsequently petitioned the legisla- 
ture of Massachusetts for an act of incorporation. The petition 
was referred to the Committee on Education, to whom the objects of 
the Academy were stated; and by their recommendation the Academy 
was incorporated by act of the legislature in March, 1835. 

The first step taken by the Academy was to engage Mr. Mason to 
relinquish a lucrative position for the purpose of devoting his 
whole time to the instruction of classee. The rapidly increasing 
demand for his labors soon obliged them to elect an associate pro- 
fessor, f'r. Y.ebb, then drganist at St. Paul's Church, was accord- 

In order to excite the interest and confidence of the public, 

for, and the crowded and attentive audiences gave ample evidence 
of the satisfaction which was felt. 

In commenting on the first of the two concerts just mentioned, the 
American Annals of Sducation and Instruction , of April 1833, stated: 

This first Annual Report then continues: 

ingly appointed 


"During the last month, the first juvenile concert 
under the direction of the Boston Academy of Music was 
given by the pupils of Professor Mason, accompanied by 
a brief address, explaining the objects of the institu- 
tion. The audience was large, and apparently much grati- 
fied. Gratuitous tickets were presented by the Academy to 
the members of the Legislature, the Teachers and School 
Committee, and the Clergy of the city, with a view of en- 
gaging their interest in the introduction of musical in- 
struction into the common schools. In addition to a variety 
of social and moral hymns, a series of extemporaneous exer- 
cises in rhythm and melody were performed in which the pupils 
sang each note as called for by the teacher, with as much 
correctness as an ordinary school boy would pronounce the 
letters of the alphabet, and preserved the time with an 
accuracy rarely found in church choirs. We believe no doubt 
could remain in the observer of the exhibitions, that it was 
both practical and important to introduce vocal music as a 
branch of common school education." 

Writing in anticipation of the second concert, May 15, the American Travel- 
lex, a Boston semi-weekly of the time, noted in its issue of Tuesday, May 14, 
the following: 

"Juvenile Concert — An interesting bill is presented in 
another column, of what may be expected on Wednesday evening 
from the juvenile choir of Ke. Mason. The proceeds are to be 
appropriated for an excellent charity, viz: the Boston Infant 
School Society. This Society, of which the Rev. Dr. Tuckerman 
is the head, was established about a year since, with the view 
to rescue the children of the poor in some parts of the city 
from the demoralizing influences to which their condition in 
life so much exposes them. The encouraging success which the 
Society has met with, is displayed in a most interesting re- 
port recently published. These schools have been supported by 
the contributions of benevolent individuals, who have given as 
occasion required. It is for the expense of the current year 
that the aid of the Academy of Music has been granted. Of the 
attractions of the Concert, itself, it would be difficult to 
speak in terms that would not appear cold to any one who has 
witnessed their delightful exhibitions on previous occasions." 

Between Part 1 and Part 11 of the Program (comprising seventeen numbers in 
all — solos, duets, and choruses), the Rev. John Pierpont, pastor of the Hol- 
lis Street Unitarian Church of Boston, delivered a stimulating address expla- 
natory of the aims, accomplishments and needs of the Infant School Society. 

Finally, we have a first-hand statement regarding the effect of the con- 
certs from one who, as a lad, sang on both occasions, namely, James C. John- 
son. In his Article published in The Bostonian for March 1895 (previously 

mentioned in our pages), Johnson vividly recalls, after a lapse of sixty-two 



-lira ill 

•fait od- to 

• 9 

years, the extraordinary impression made upon the attending audiences, and we 
quote his words: 

The concerts produced a prodigious' sensation as 
the old idea of 'only here and there a musical ear' was 
being unceremoniously exploded. Crowded audiences and 
great enthusiasm prepared the way for the introduction 
of music into the schools, which, however, was long 
delayed . 

Declaring Mason to be "the apostle of the new dispensation" [since he main- 
tained that practically everyone who could talk could be taught to sing] , John- 
son continues with a word-picture of one of Lowell Mason's early school music 

The schoolhousss of that period each contained two large 
rooms, accomodating, each, about 200 scholars. Into one of 
these rooms 200 of the oldest pupils are gathered. Lowell 
Mason is at the piano. Every eye is upon him. He proceeds to 
drill the school in scale singing, in syllable skipping, and 
perhaps asks a few review questions. He sees everybody and any 
wandering of attention is met by some quaint observation or 
shrewd remark that at once secures the roving eye. Then comes 
a bright song, with all the life and all the expression put in 
it. Then follows the lesson on the board, with lucid Pestaloz- 
zian explanations; then more singing, and before any one is 
weary, the lesson is over. 

There was little or no practice between lessons, but one can 
can see that, in the course of a year, the simple 'elements of 
music' were pretty thoroughly gone over. As pupils attend the 
same schools for a series of years, three or four repetitions 
of the course were witnessed. 

Returning no. to the Academy's first Annual Report, its concluding para- 
graphs are: 

.n.3o e - CO f dttee ° n j uvenil e and adult classes have procured 
convenient rooms, under the Bowdoin Street Church, for tZ 


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exclusive use of the Academy, and a juvenile class has 
been formed there under the direction of Mr. Mason, of 
400 pupils. They have also engaged the chapel of the Old 
South Church for two afternoons in the week, for a class 
of 100 pupils, under Mr. £ebb. These schools are free to 
all children, no other condition being required of the 
pupils than that they be over seven years of age, and en- 
gage to continue in the school one year. Mr. Webb has also 
commenced a juvenile school at Cambridgeport; and Mr. Ma- 
son has established others at Salem and Lynn, containing 
about 150 pupils each, and an adult class at Salem of equal 

But the Academy are particularly gratified v?ith the result 
of the effort to introduce vocal music, as a part of the reg- 
ular course of instruction in schools. It appears from the re- 
port of the committee on this subject, that the plan was first 
adopted in the Mount Vernon School[Jacob Abbott's], and the 
Monitorial School of Mr. Fowle, both of females, Mr. Thayer's 
School for boys in Chauncey Place, in each of which there are 
100 pupils, who receive instruction twicw a week in vocal mu- 
sic. Instruction is also given-rby the professors of the Acad- 
emy in the Asylum for the Blina, in the schools of l$r. Haywood 
and Miss Raymond, Chestnut St., in Miss Spooner's School in 
Montgomery Place, and in the Academy at Cambridgeport. The 
whole number of the pupils under the care of the Acadein exceeds 
1500. In all these classes and schools, deep interest is felt 
in the subject and in the mode of instruction; and surprise is 
often expressed, even by those who are familiar with the ordi- 
nary musical instruction, at the simple illustration of subjects, 
xvhich they had never attempted to understand, and at the exhibi- 
tion of important principles, to which they were entire strangers. 
The Academy look with peculiar pleasure at these results, as the 
indication, that in this part of the community, the value of 
this acquisition will soon be fully realized, and every parent 
s&all be solicitous to have his children taught vocal music as a 
regular branch of education. 

In endeavoring to diffuse a knowledge of the simple and admir- 
able method of instruction received from the school of Pestalozzi, 
the Academy are anxious on the one hand, that it should ultimately 
be known to every teacher in the land; but on the other, they feel 
it highly important that it should not be imperfectly acquired or 
communicated, that the interest already inspired in this subject 
may not be chilled, nor the confidence already felt be disappointed, 
by the unsuccessful attempts of superficial teachers. They have 
therefore deferred, as the last step of their progress, a course of 
instruction for teachers; but they design to establish this, as 
soon as there is reason to expect a sufficient number of teachers 
to render it useful 

In considering all the circumstances, the Academy find much reason 
for encouragement. They have, indeed, only entered the field of 

1. At the request of Dr. Samuel G. Howe (1801-76), superintendent in 1832 of 
the Perkins Asylum for the Blind (then in South Boston), Mason gave both 
vocal and pianoforte instruction at the institution for a period of seven 
years from 1833. Here his ingenuity in originating means for achieving an 
end was exercised. He devised an original system for teaching music to 
the blind. 


their labors; but the success of their efforts, thus far, 
has surpassed their expectations. It encourages them to 
believe that they may be able to do something towards the 
introduction of a new and powerful instrument in educating 
our youth, and improving our adult population. . . 

As this association does not consist of professional 
musicians [other than its professor^) , it differs entirely 
from those which have been formed Tor the purpose of musi- 
cal exhibitions, although they fully appreciate the useful- 
ness of these, when properly conducted, in elevating the stan- 
dard of musical taste; nor do they attempt particularly the 
improvement of their own members. Their object is rather to 
diffuse the knowledge of music, in its most beneficial forms 
throughout the community; and the whole income which may be derived 
from classes, concerts, subscriptions and donations will be devot- 
ed, by the terms of their charter, to the extension of vocal 
music among the teachers and schools of our country. . . . 

With these objects in view, the Academy look with confidence 
to the enlightened friends of education, for approbation and aid 
in their undertakings, and they rely with still more confidence, 
on the blessing of God, upon a plan, whose ultimate design is to 
promote the honor of his name, and the advancement of "that kingdom, 
which is righteousness, and peace," in the hearts of their 

Meantime, an incres^ing number of requests for lectures — from points dis- 
tant as well as nearby, indicative of a constantly widening interest in the 
subject of music-study — had been received; and these, so far as was possible, 
had been gladly granted, — inclusive of those given by reason independently, 
and those arranged for by the Academy. On 4 May, 1835, for instance, we find 
Lowell Bason in New York City, speaking there on Music before the members of the 
toStofl L yceum , at its third Annual Meeting — to which organization, by the 
way, Mr. Woodbridge had presented, during the same month, a "printed essay" on 
Vocal Music, as a Branch of Commo-n, Education a repetition of his 1850 lecture 
at the American Institute of Instruction . 

But Mason's New York visit was necessarily brief, for every hour at home was 
important. Furthermore, in addition to his activities with the Academy at Boston 
and vicinity, he had accepted an invitation to open a Music School, early in 
May, at Salem, Massachusetts. Incidentally, too, journeying from New York to 
Boston, in 1855, was far from -speedy; the usual mode of travel, previously to 

Iq b i 


the considerably later all-rail connection between the two points, being by 
steamboat from New York to Providence, R. I., requiring twenty-three hours at 
best, and thence — for from five to six hours more and over a rough road for 
forty miles or so — by stagecoach, to Boston. Compensations, however, there 
were, happily mitigating the otherwise tedium of the long, jolting drive from 
Providence; for in addition to occasional conversation with one's fellow- 
passengers, to contemplation of the countryside's loveliness along the way — not 
infrequently enriched by a superbly-proportioned colonial dwelling or meeting- 
house — excellent opportunity was afforded for the exercise of individual re- 
sourcefulness. As for Mason, in this latter regard, he possessed to a remarkable 
degree, fortunately enough, the trait of turning to accpunt moments which might 
have been passed as bytime; and to this end he invariably carried in his pocket 
a musical manuscript book in which he jotted down such musical ideas as came to 
him, for future utilization as the melodies of hymn-tunes, anthems, songs for 
children, or other works. For the travelers, one and all, furthermore, the jour- 
ney held in store an hour of delightful relaxation and refreshment — a famous 
dinner awaiting them on arrival at Wrentham, Massachusetts, at either of the re- 
nowned and hospitable Taverns, Polley's or Fuller's. 

On his return to Boston, Mason found much to attend to, as is indicated by the 
closing paragraphs of the Academy's Report just quoted; within a week, neverthe- 
less, he deperted the city once more — and again by stagecoach (for it was not un- 

, A 

til five years later that through the enterprise of the Eastern Railway Company 
tracks were first laid) — now to open on May 15 the School at Salem, already men- 
tioned, and in accord with the following advance notice in the Essex Register of 
2 May, 1833: 

The Subscribers, members of a committee appointed at a public 
meeting at the Lyceum Hall, respectfully gi«e notice that they have 
engaged Mr. Lowell Mason, Professor of the coston Academy of Music, 
to give instruction in the Elementary Principles of V ocal Music to a 
School organized on the following plan: — 

The School shall consist of two divisions, an Adult and a Juvenile 
Class. The Junior Class will assemble for instruction 

lei Jx 


on the afternoon of Monday, at 5 o'clock, and continue 
until 6. It will re-assemble for instruction on Tuesday 
morning at a quarter before 6 o'clock, and continue one 
hour. This Class will consist of pupils of seven years 
and upwards. 

The Adult Class will assemble on the evening of Monday 
at 8 o'clock. 

The School will continue during one term of 6 months, 
commencing on the 2nd Monday of May. 

Tickets for admission for the term, at Five Dollars for 
the Adult Class, and Four Dollars for the Juvenile Class, may 
be found at the Bookstores of Messrs Whipple & Lawrence, 
J. M. Ives, »• & S. B. Ives, and Samuel West. 

For any further information respecting the School inqui- 
ries may be made of either of the Subscribers 

Henry K. Oliver Stephen C. Phillips 

John TV. Rogers Charles Lawrence 

Thos. P. Pingree James Upton 

Joseph G. Sprague Elisha Mack 
Thos. Downing. Jr. 

Judging from the Tuesday morning hour at which the Junior Class 
"re-assembled," it seems fair to assume, we think, that its youngster 
members — and its teacher — acquiesced whole-heartedly in Poor Richard ' s 
maxim, "early to bed, and early to rise," . . . Typical was this, at all 
events, of the earnestness shown by members of both Classes, while the interest 
aroused by the opening lessons led to their immediate repetition; and this for 
the benefit of a number of candidates who, upon hearing reports so favorable, 
wished to enrol, tardily though it was, as members of the School. 

During a lesson of the Adult Class, an incident occurred which started on its 
long life of usefulness the hymn-tune, Federal Street , by Henry K. Oliver (1800- 
85). As quite a surprise to the pupils, the Teacher asked if anyone present had 
ever attempted musical composition, adding that, if so, he would be interested to 
see the result. Whereupon, Oliver replied that a year or so previously while medi- 
tating on the hymn by Anne Steele beginning, So fades the lovely, blooming 
flower , a spontaneous melody had come to him as he dwelt particularly on the 
closing stanza: 

See , gentle Patience smiles on Pain . 
And dying Hope revives again ; 
Hope wipes the tear from Sorrow 1 s eye , 
While Faith points upward to the sky . 




Having harmonized the melody, he then consigned the manuscript to a drawer 
of his study-table, and there it had lain ever since. At the Teacher's request, 
the score was produced at the next lesson. As Mason read the music, and played 
it on the pianoforte, he admired the strength, the dignity, the reverential 
feeling of the tune as a whole, and its appropriateness for congregational 
singing. Turning to the composer, he asked permission to include it in his 
forthcoming work, The Boston Academy '? Collection of Church Music . This being 
gladly assented to, the hymn-tune was first printed in the earliest edition, 
1855, of the said Collection. It soon made its way, appearing in many subsequent 

publications; and having stood the test of time it is well-known and c horiofeod 

< /> 

to this day, as it has been throughout a century and more, by communions of 
various denominations, and as a musical setting for numerous hymns as well. 

Within the next fortnight, Mason accepted an invitation to address the Essex 
Coun ty Teachers 1 Association at Topsfield, Massachusetts, and there, assisted by 
his Juvenile Singers, he gave an illustrated lecture on May 25 to an audience 
comprising persons particularly interested in the progress of education. The 
Salem G aZ ette of 21 June, 1835, referred to the occasion in these significant 
words : 

A semi-annual meeting of the Essex County Teachers' Asso- 
ciation was held at Topsfield on Friday and Saturday the 25th 
and 26th of May, on which occasion Lectures were delivered by 
Messrs Cyrus P. Grosvenor, of Salem, Samuel Lamson, of Andover, 
David P. Page, of Newburyport, Oliver Carlton, of Marblehead, and 
Lowell Mason, of Boston, to an audience of about 500 persons from 
nearly all the towns in the County. 

The lectures were all highly interesting, generally extempo- 
raneous, and of a more decidedly practical character than are usually 
delivered on similar occasions. The influence exerted by them will 
long continue to operate upon our schools, and will be productine of 
the happiest results. 

Mr. Mason's lecture on teaching music to children was delivered 
in the meeting-house. He was attended by a select Juvenile Choir from 
Boston. Standing in front of the pulpit he gave to the audience, by 
means of a blackboard, an outline of his method of teaching which, for 
some years past, he has practised with so much success. 

The proficiency of his pupils was truly astonishing. They would 
read, at sight, lessons in music written on the blackboard, with the 
greatest apparent facility. Their singing, too, was characterised by a 


precision, richness, and perfection, utterly incredible to 
those who have not had the pleasure of listening to their per- 
formances. It will doubtless be gratifying to teachers to learn 
that Mr. Mason is preparing for publication a Manual of Instruc- 
tion, embracing his whole system of teaching, and that it will 
probably be issued from the press in about four months; so that, 
considering the interest that already prevails upon the subject, 
and the facilities affotded, it is not improbable that with the 
present year the voice of song and melody will be heard in the 
majority of our schools. ...... 

The thanks of the Association were given to the Lecturers, and 
to the Members of the Juvenile Choir, for their gratuitous and very 
acceptable services. 

Per order of the Board of Directors 

Alfred Greenleaf, Cor. Sec'y. 

Salem, June 1833. 

And so it eventuated that the Topsfield meeting, like others of the period, 
proved substantially helpful in furthering the cause of public school music, as 
did likewise the children's singing both at meetings and in public concerts. 

One such concert, interestingly typical of many, was that given by the pupils 
of the Salem Singing School on 30 December, 1833, toward the close of the 
School's six months' term. It took place at the South Meeting-house, before an 
audience of the pupils' families and their friends, the proceeds being in behalf 
of the Society for the Relief of Destitute Widows and Orphans of Seamen . A de- 
lightful episode of the Concert, recalled many years later by one who, as a 

"childish soprano", sang a solo on the occasion, is charmingly told in the recently 


published book, When I, lived in Salem . 
As the School's appointed term of six months ended, the demand for its contin- 
uance was such that it succeeded itself, so to speak, and for twice as long a 
period, Mason was now joined by his friend (and associate professor, in 1856, at 
the Boston Academy), Joseph A. Keller, the opening of their School having been 

announced in the program of the December 50 Concert: 

Juvenile Singing School 

Mr. Mason and Mr. Keller will commence on Monday, 14th January, 

1. See pp.l61ff of When I lived in, Salem , with a preface by. Louisa L. Dresel. by 
Caroline Howard King. 1957. (Stephen Daye Press. Brattleboro. Vermont.) 



a Class for children and youth to be continued twice a 
week (with the exception of the usual vacations) for one 
year, or, until the close of December, 1854. Tickets of 
admission for the whole term, may be had at the bookstores, 
for $6 each. 

A Class for Adults will also commence on the 4th Monday in 
January, and be continued through the year, once a week. 
Tickets at $6 for the whole term, may be had as above. 

L. Mason, Professor, Boston Academy of Music. 
J. A. Keller, 


Mr. Keller, as his signature indicates, was no stranger to Salem, having 
settled there in 1830 as a teacher of the pianoforte, flute, and violin, as 
also of Vocal Music; and although Mason still resided in Boston, he visited 
Salem each week in order to conduct the lesson of the Adult Class, and one of 
the two for children — the second weekly lesson for children being under 
Keller's charge. The combination was a strong one, and the School ran on suc- 
cessfully for the specified time. 

As nothing succeeds like success, so it was that the musical progress, thus 
far noted, as achieved by children and adults alike enabled the Academy, in 
its second Annual Report, May 28, 1854, to submit to its members the follow- 
ing gratifying statements: 

A brief survey will now be taken of the progress which 
has been made during the past year. This will, of course, 
have reference principally to the labors of the professors, 
and these may be viewed in connection with Juvenile and Adult 
Classes, Common Schools, and Choirs and Concerts. 

Juvenile and Adult Classes . One of the first objects of 
attention with the Academy was the making the study and prac- 
tice of vocal music a part of the early education of children. 
Previous to its establishment, some interesting experiments of 
this nature had been made gratuitously by one of the present 
professors of the Academy, with very encouraging success. These 
experiments — if they need now be called experiments — have 
been continued, and have occupied a considerable portion of the 
time of the professors. Classes and schools of this description 
have been formed and taught during portions of the past year in 
this city, and in Salem, Lynn, and Cambridge, embracing nearly 
1200 pupils, of various ages, from five or six years upwards. 
In teaching these, the most simple and philosophical method has 
been adopted. Very little use has been made of books in the more 
elementary parts of instruction. The method has been strictly 
analytical and progressive, and most of the lessons have been 


given orally or on the blackboard. 

Adult classes have been taught in this city, in Salem, 
and in Harvard University, embracing together about 500 
pupils; making the whole number of pupils in classes formed 
especially for musical instruction, about 1700. . . , 

While the desire to become acquainted with music seems to 
have in no degree diminished among the adult portions of the 
community, there is obviously an increasing disposition to 
obtain the benefits of juvenile instruction in almost every 
class of society. 

Common Schools . The professors have been employed during the 
past year to give instruction in music to the pupils of nine 
schools, including several of the largest and best conducted pri- 
vate schools in the city, together with one in Cambridgeport and 
one in Charlestown; embracing in all about 530 pupils. 

The whole number of pupils taught by the Academy, is 
about 2200. 

From the instructors of most of the schools just referred 
to, testimonials have been received, clearly showing that 
children may be taught music, in connection with their ordinary 
studies, without injury to their progress in them, and with 
manifest advantage, in the promotion of cheerfulness, good or- 
der, and kind intercourse; and that it tends to refine the feel- 
ings, improve the taste, and give elasticity to the spirits of 
pupils; and by introducing a pleasing variety into the employ- 
ments of the day, it possesses all the advantages of a healthy 
recreation, for refreshing their minds and preparing them to 
pursue their severer studies with new zest and success. 

Concerts and Choirs . Two public concerts have been given 
during the year by juvenile classes, under the direction of the 
professors. These, it is believed, were of such a character as 
to convince all who were present, that even small children taken 
from families promiscuously, are not only capable of learning 
to sing tunes by rote, with a good degree of correctness, but 
that they can also acquire such a knowledge of the elementary 
principles of musical science, as to be able to read music with 
facility, and to sing intelligently and independently. The 
principal object of these concerts is to exhibit before the com- 
munity what cab be accomplished in early musical education; and 
it is believed that the impression make on the public mind by 
those already held, has been highly favorable; and that an interest 
has been awakened extensively, which will secure a greatly increas- 
ed attention to the subject hereafter A choir 

has been formed in connection with the Academy, which promises 
to be an efficient auxiliary in accomplishing its objects. This 
choir is now receiving weekly instruction, and practicing under 
the professors in the higher departments of sacred music; and it 
is hoped that in the course of the coming year, it will be able to 
give concerts in which it may perform acceptably some of the most 
approved compositions of the greatest masters 

The preparation of elementary books requires the immediate 
attention of the Academy. Without these the exertions and influ- 
ence of it must be very limited, and made at disadvantage. An 
elementary treatise, containing the principles and rules of music, 
on the inductive method, adapted to teachers and classes, has been 
prepared by one of the professors, and is nearly through the press. 
It is hoped that other works in this department may soon be added, 


until the series of elementary books shall be as complete, 
and the method of instruction become as simple and philoso- 
phical in music, as in any other branch of knowledge. 

The training of properly qualified teachers is another 
important object claiming the immediate attention of the 
Academy. . • • Classes must be formed to which in- 
struction shall be given adapted to qualify teachers for 
their work; and all the facilities be afforded which may be 
requisite for introducing them to the community, and prepar- 
ing them to exert influence. A few itinerating teachers 
might effect much. 

The Report enumerates, moreover, certain other objects the furthering of 
which the Academy hoped to undertake at an early date, e. g., extending " aid 
to pupils of peculiar promise who are placed in unfavorable circumstances," to 
the end that their talent might be developed for the benefit of both them- 
selves and others; the inauguration of private juvenile classes extensively 
throughout the city, in the belief that these would offer practical advanta- 
ges over the previously taught and large public classes "to which all child- 
ren who chose were admitted promiscuously, and where all the instruction was 
gratuitous;" and establishing a course of lectures on the nature, aims, and 
character of music, to be illustrated by a choir of competent singers p such 
lectures, it being maintained, would tend to correct public sentiment regard- 
ing the value 01^ education in music, and help to secure for it "that atten- 
tion and study of which it is worthy." 

Printed in the Report, too, are a number of the referred -to "testirao- 

nials," while indicative of the purport of these is the following letter^ 

received by the Academy from Gideon F. Thayer, founder in 1828 of Chauncy- 

Hall School, Boston, stating that: 

iir. Lowell Mason, professor of music in the Boston 
Academy, has taught the pupils of Chauncy-Hall School 
the elements of vocal music, during the past year, and 
to my perfect satisfaction. It was at first undertaken 
as an experiment, but has proved so popular among the 
children and parents, as to be now considered among the 
regular branches of the institution. Its influence I 
consider excellent, especially on the temper and affec- 
tions of the children; nor do I find that its effect on 


discipline is, in the least prejudicial, although the 
exercises are highly exciting to the vivacity of young 
minds. It is not with us a required study, but four fifths 
of our whole number engage in it? 

Thus it is seen that the Academy, in less than one and one half years since 
its inauguration, is making head?;ay toward a realization of its aims; and this 
too despite the public mistrust, lack of understanding and animadversion, only 
recently so pronounced. Even the scroll of Clotho, once the bearer of minatory 
words, now heralds the legend vincit qui patitur . while the vanishing frown of 
Lachesis gives place to favoring smiles! For higher than the Fates is the Will 
of Destiny — the steady course of nature. And of nature's handmaids, indispen- 
sable alike to an adequate understanding and a practical application of her 
laws, are not clear-thinking and perseverance of signal importance? 

Fortunately, the two are here present — effectually at work. Public interest 
is definitely aroused; its views regarding a just estimate of the influence and 
benefits of meritorious music are being molded by leaders of education, by lead- 
ers of the bar and civic affairs, of the Church and of social amenities — all 
united by a common tie and working with a will as members of the Boston Academy 
of Music . 

The way is being cleared of misconception, distrust and Boeotian ignorance; 
while rising in their stead, gradually yet surely, are a more and more general 
appreciation of the wholesome influence of worthy music, of its rightful place 
in the scheme of education and — above all -- a crescent recognition of the 
fact that the time of times for beginning its study is early childhood. 

1. With the -ear 1834, Lowell Mason's tune Laban ("My soul be on thy guard") 
'was adopted as the Chauncy-Hall School "official song" and was sung each 
morning by ail the pupils as the exercises of the day opened. 

ac rain* by/^U ti« ?» the dtigMr: 


Chapter Xlll 2 k u j/ 

During the Academy's third year various changes took place affecting the 
personnel of its Board of Government. Dr. Abbott, having served for two years 
as President, now felt it requisite to retire j for as one of the organizers of 
the nearby Eliot Church, at Roxbury, and shortly to be installed there as its 
minister, he deemed it necessary to curtail his activities elsewhere. His res- 
ignation being accepted, albeit with regret, the Academy forthwith chose as his 
successor another of their associates — the Hon. Samuel Atkins Eliot. 

Eliot's sound public spirit and standing, together with his musical activity 

and his appreciation (rare at the time) of music's educational and other 

values, left no doubt in the minds of his fellow-members as to his being the 

logical man for the office — nor did subsequent events belie their judgment. 

Elected in 1855, Eliot continued as President for a period of twelve years, or 


practically for the balance of the existence of the Academy, as such. For in 
1847 the members believed that the specific purposes which led to the founding 
of the institution had been sufficiently exploited — these purposes being, as 

1. In the Boston Musical Q azette (50 August, 1847) appears the following note: 
"Officers of the Boston Academy of Music, chosen at the recent annual meet- 
ing [the Academy's calendar year originally began with May, but this was 
changed in 1859 to Julyjfor the ensuing year: George E.Head, president; 
George W. Crockett, vice-president; George V'. Gordon, recording secretary; 
Benj. F. Edmands, librarian; Samuel A. Eliot, Moses Grant, Daniel Noyes, 
Bela Hunting, Julius A. Palmer, Wm. C. Brown, Henry Edmands, Luther S. Cush- 
ing, Jonas Chickering, Wm. M, Stone, counsellors." The Academy "is still 
living," said Lowell Mason in his 1851 Address, "though, since its children 
have grown up around it, as it never desired to exhibit itself, it has grad- 
ually retired from most of its active labors, leaving younger ones to carry 
on the work which it commenced. The Musical Education Society, the Musical 
Fund Society, Music in the Schools, Musical Conventions, and Teachers' Clas- 
ses, are among its legitimate offspring, and are its legal heirs and repre- 
sentatives. The inheritance which they may possess is not one of silver and 
gold, but it is a spirit of universal musical improvement. This they are 
bound to receive and cherish. Be it theirs, children and children's child- 
ren for ever." 




summarized in the Third Annual Report (May 27, 1835) "to raise music, as a 
branch of education, to the rank they think it entitled to hold; to diffuse a 
knowledge of its principles among all classes, and, as subsidiary to this end, 
to endeavor to remove the prejudices which impede its progress, and to correct 
the abuses to which it is liable. In doing this, they use the same means 
which other societies adopt in advancing their objects. The only personal ad- 
vantage which they expect to secure by their efforts, is to partake in the 
gratification which will be common to all, when the art is more fully appre- 
ciated, and more generally and successfully cultivated." 

During this third year too the Rev, David Greene resigned the Vice- 
Presidency. But being prevailed upon to not sever his connection with 
the institution he accepted election to its Board of Counsellors, and 
here he continued to serve for the two following years. He exchanged 
places, so to speak, with Moses Grant, one of the Academy* s ten Counsellors 
from the outset, who now became Vice-President in Greene's stead. 

Furthermore, Theophilus Parsons (son and biographer of the whimsical 
yet brilliant Massachu setts Chief Justice of an earlier day, and whose 
name he bore) with George W# Crockett (previously mentioned in our pages) 
now likewise became Counsellors, filling vacancies on the Board occasioned 
by the resignations of H. LI. Willis and William J. Hubbard. The latter 
two, having served as Counsellors since the beginning, announced at this 
juncture their definite retirement. 

Meamnhile the work of the Academy went steadily on; changes in its 
official roster in no wise disturbing its well-established policies or 
halting its various activities. Quite the contrary, in fact, since the 
newly-elected officers, wholly in accord with the measures and methods of 

©it oo ot bo 


the different departments, came to their posts well-prepared and quite 
ready to act in the discharge of their respective duties. They gave 
expression, moreover, as recorded in the Fourth Annual Report (May 25, 
1836), "to their entire satisfaction with the labors of their professors, 
and their confidence that the future success of the Academy could not 
depend on more able or willing hands." 

Inasmuch as the professors reciprocated these sentiments of confi- 
dence and good-will, all augured auspiciously for a continuance of un- 
broken cooperation between the administrative and teaching staffs. A 
contributory factor to this favorable state of affairs indubitably arose 
from the sympathetic relationship existing between the new president and 
the Academy's master-spirit — Eliot and Mason — a relationship of 
several years' duration, mutual understanding and a©«o;ed. 


"My father", wrote President Charles \V. Eliot (7 February, 1917) 
to the present writer, "had a high regard for Lowell Mason. Also my 
father, who sang bass in the choir of King's Chapel for many years, and 
always wanted to have hymn tunes sung by the family every Sunday evening, 
was partial to Lowell Mason's hymn tunes. In consequence, I learnt many 
of them when a boy — to my advantage through life"»' >> 


With kindred thoughts on various subjects — public welfare, educa- 
tion, religion, theology, — the two men were quite as one regarding 
that of music's importance. Together they persistently worked, shoulder 
to shoulder, Mason proclaiming and demonstrating the benefits to be 
derived from an intelligent study and practice of worthy music, emphasiz- 
ing at all times the desirability of purity of taste * and stressing the 
significance of this as a factor not alone in its aesthetic relation 
to musical art, but in the cultivation of moral strength and elevation 




, . 4 B ~r\twih rfl£5 aw.rfitjfl.raoiC fI08J3l<' «*xe 
. « ^ii* ,-'\' ' ' fin/*-, vfa JJ* 3 ■** j-3 xnx iuv * 

of character; and Eliot bringing to bear the weight of his influence — 
expressed in acts rather than in words — which notably aided in the 
furtherance of these endeavors. Back of both men too was the staunch 
support of their fellow-members. 

Thus equipped, and with Progress as its constant watchword, the 
Academy successfully pursued its course of usefulness, broadening from 
time to time the scope of its curriculum, increasing the number of its 

Additional concerts by the juvenile and the adult classes proved sub- 
stantially helpful in quieting such lingering doubts as still characterized 
the skeptical; the Academy Choir, mentioned in the Second Annual Report as 
in its infancy though by this time in a flourishing condition with close to 
one hundred members, of both sexes, exhibited in a series of six oratorio- 
concerts both skilful training and laudable performance (f«f±±i uuuis eb o r 

lgt * ?d H? ttb3 *k*^^^ differe n t ph ases^ 

"It is" gratifying" , records the Third Annual Report, May, 
1855, "to the friends of music, and especially to the mem- 
bers of the Academy, to know that the cause which they es- 
poused is gaining strength in the United States. The apathy 
which has heretofore existed in relation to it, is gradually 
giving way in proportion as information is disseminated. The 
influence which this institution is exerting at the present 
time upon the subject of musical education and taste is ex- 
tensively felt. Their Reports have been much sought after, and 
read with avidity. The works which they have put forth for the 
promotion of the art, have met with a ready sale. Inquiries 
have been made respecting the mode of our operations, from va- 
rious quarters. To meet this demand a second edition was publish- 
ed of the 1854. Report, and quickly disposed of. Letters have been 
received from persons in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, 
Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, jfiaryland, New York, Connect- 
icut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, besides many from individ- 
uals and societies in Massachusetts, asking for information rela- 
tive to measures which they ought to adopt, in order to intro- 
duce music as a branch of education into the community where 
they live. 

In Portland, they have formed an Academy for this 
purpose which is doing considerable for that object. 
Mr. Ilsley, the professor, has had under tuition during 
the past year, five hundred children and two hundred 
adults. In Cincinnati, another has been formed which 
seems to be in active operation, Mr. T. B. Mason [bro- 
ther of Lowell Mason] , the professor connected with the 
last named institution, has several hundred children 
under his instruction, besides a number of adult classes. 
The professor writes that the subject of music is rising 
in estimation in Cincinnati; and the influence of that 
city on the western country is, as we all know, very ex- 
tensive, and it is important among other things that the 
inhabitants should set a just value upon all branches of 

Another proof of awakened interest in the community, is 
to be found in the numerous applications which have been 
made for properly qualified teachers, to take charge of 
classes. ***** The inducement to study music, with a 
view of becoming a teacher of it, are almost every day 
increasing in strength. A more just value is set upon 
the labors and occupation of an instructor in this depart 
ment of education than formerly." 

Having realized at the outset the then existing lack of "properly qualified 
teachers," and with the end in view of providing the means the object of which 
should be "to teach how to teach," Mason now prepared his treatise, previously 
referred to, entitled Manual of the Boston Academy of Music . for instruction 
in the elements of Vocal tfoisic . on the system of Pestalozzi . 

The issuance of a book for teachers was at the time a novel idea; for the 
Manual, published in June, 1834 (Carter, Hendee & Co., Boston), differed essen- 
tially from any treatise on music theretofore published in this country. Pre- 
pared with the hope that it might assume a place in early musical education 
analogous to places in their respective fields of accredited works on other 
subjects, the book's purposes are explained in its introductory Chapters, from 
which the following excerptS are taken: 

The Lesign of the Manual is to affora such facilities 
for the cultivation of vocal music as to place instruction 
in the elements of this useful and delightful department on 
the same footing with instruction in oth<3r branches of com- 
mon elementary education. Vocal music can oe taught in 
families, common schools, 


and other seminaries of learning, in the same 
manner as other elementary branches; and any 
teacher who can sing and who has a knowledge of 
the common rules of music, can, with the aid of 
such a manual, successfully introduce it. But the 
manual is not designed exclusively for teachers of 
children. The same general course must be pursued 
in singing schools for adults, as in those for chil- 
dren. If adults have never learned to read, they 
must, like children, commence with their letters 
and syllables; so, like children, they must commence 
learning to sing, by acquiring a knowledge of the 
elements of vocal music. Nor is the manual designed 
exclusively for schools. Individuals, who have some 
knowledge of music, will be able to pursue privately 
the course here pointed out. Parents too, who can 
sing, may successfully teach their children. 

Proceeding in accordance with a strictly analytical plan, the Manual 
presents its subject-matter in a manner so clear that failure to comprehend 
its import and full significance, granting reasonable application, would ap- 
pear to be impossible. Although obviously impracticable to reproduce here the 
book's two hundred and more pages, our quotations may serve to indicate the 
clarity of the text and the soundness of the principles employed. 

First, regarding the distinctive character of the method itself: 

The peculiarities of xne system consist principally 
in the very careful analysis which it presents, and in 
its being strictly elementary and systematic. One 
thing is taken up at a time, and thoroughly examined 
and practised, before another is commenced. The arrange- 
ment is such that the knowledge, aside from mere defini- 
tions, may be acquired by the pupils themselves, rather 
than from the dictation of the teacher. He should sel- 
dom tell them anything, which, by a series of questions, 
he can lead them to find out themselves. His object is 
so to lead them to the desired information, as to excite 
their curiosity, and fix their attention. Knowledge 
acquired in this manner, is deeply impressed on the mind, 
and therefore durable. *.,*** It always pleases 
scholars to find out things themselves ; and what is thus 
learned is not only remembered but understood. By pur- 
suing this course, an interest may be kept up for years 
in the study and practice of the elements of vocal music, 
which is usually regarded dry and uninteresting; — such 


«*eh an interest too as scarcely any other study 
can produce, because no other has such an in- 
fluence on the feelings. This is not imagination, 
but fact, as is abundantly proved by the experience 
of those teachers who have pursued it. 

And secondly, as to the procedure of instruction: 

Before attempting to give children regular instruc- 
tion in the elements of music, they must be taught 
easy songs or tunes by rote, or by imitation. This 
may be done at a very early age, in the family, or 
in infant schools, in which but little more should be 
attempted. For this purpose the teacher should select 
the easiest and most interesting songs, and sing them 
over and over, a line at a time, and "thus teach the 
children to imitate them. In addition to this, very 
young children may be taught to make the proper motions 
in beating time, and to describe those motions by say- 
ing, downward beat, &c. They may also be taught to 
sing the scale, applying the appropriate syllables, or 
some such lines as the following: 

"Now we will sing the upward scale, 
Now we will sing the downward scale." 

From the very first lesson, they should be required 
to sing alone, and should be guided solely by the ear, 
and without the aid of the teacher* s voice. The object 
of this preparatory instruction is principally, the 
formation and cultivation of a musical ear, by which 
the child shall be able to distinguish, appreciate, and 
imitate musical sounds. The voice also acquires strength 
by these exercises. It is highly important, however, 
that children should never be permitted to make great 
exertion, or to strain or to force their voices either 
as it respects strength or compass. Many a beautiful 
voice has been ruined in this way. When children first 
begin to sing, there is often a bashfulness that may 
prevent their singing sufficiently loud. But they soon 
get over this; and then it becomes necessary for the 
teacher to restrain them, rather than to encourage them 
to louder singing. * * * * Children having had the 
advantages of preparatory instruction (as above outlined] 
should commence a formal and systematic course in the 
elementary principles of music, when about six or eight 
years of age. They will then be prepared readily to 
receive and comprehend, both in theory and in practice, 
these principles, which should be presented to the mind 
gradually, and according to the method here laid down. 
****** It is n ot so much the object of educa- 
tion to store the mind with knowledge, as to discipline 
it. That person is not the best educated, vrtio has learned 
the most , but he who knows best how to learn. 



The Introduction includes, moreover, General Observations ; direct- 
ions concerning the Method of Instruction ; information for, and regarding 
The Teacher ; and cognate points. It paves the way, in short, to the 
Manual ' s technical portion, to the Elements of Vocal Music . 

Under this latter heading, three main divisions of the subject — 
Rhythm, Melody, Dynamics — are treated in detail, ad unguem. 

To enliven the study of the Melody division numerous vocal exercises 
in chromatics are given, while Rounds for two, three, and four voices — 
alluring incentives to concentration — whet the interest and, better 
still, the pleasure of pupils. "Do not use compulsion , said Plato, 
"but let early education be rather a sort of amusement V 5 

The divisions devoted to Rhythm and Dynamics are then likewise 
treated in an equally attractive, explicit® manner. 

Happy now in their lessons, the pupils enthusiastically proceed; 
while through practice, through the exercise of their own perception, 
observation and pleasing experiences, they gain first a knowledge of the 
details, and finally — having mastered the details one by one— -an 
understanding of the general principles, or conclusions. They advance, in 
other words, under the encouragement of the teacher, from that which is 
known to that which is unknown — for such is the golden rule of the 
Inductive Method. 

Several pages of the Manual deal with a description of the human 
voice, per se . its nature, formation, and development; and these are follow- 
ed by a series of lessons, or Miscellaneous Exercises in Solmization . i. e., 
the application of the syllables Ut (Do), Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, to tones 
comprising the scale. 

Under the fascinating influence of the natural (or inductive) 
method of instruction, the class room no longer remains a place of 


10 «x 

dispiriting, tyrannical control, but is happily transformed into a scene of 
hearty co-operation, pleasant relationships, and cheerfulness. The child's mind 
becomes energetic, enterprising, joyous. Novelty incites the young intellect, 
wonderment leads it on; the acquirement of new ideas and impressions stimulates 
the youthful faculties, rendering them earnest. C'est avoir profite, declared 
Boileau, que de savoir s'y plaire. 

As for the Manual's text, this abounds in simply-expressed, direct, pithy 
statements. The purport of the statements is at once brought home to the pupil — 
impressed upon his mind — by the means of appropriate, pertinent questions. And 
thus to a considerable extent the pupil discovers his own way. 

The Manual's adoption was immediate. Running into several editions, it quickly 
became the vade-mecum of teacher and parent alike. And similarly to the author's 
earlier work, The Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music , which in 
1822 took "possession of churches, singing classes, and homes, purifying and ele- 
vating the taste wherever it went," so now twelve years subsequently the Manual 
received approbation from near and far, the hearty welcome accorded it by musi- 
cians, singing-schools, teachers and students being well-nigh universal. Hailed 

, 1 2 
at home and abroad as an open-sesame — albeit other and competitive Methods pre- 
sently appeared — the book was avowed unparalleled in its unfolding of the 

1. William Gardiner (1770-1853), for instance, English composer and author of 
Sacred Melodies , previously mentioned, in writing from Leicester, England, 
Feb. 26, 1835, to an American friend (James A. Dickson, Esq.) stated: "I have 
duly received your letter, also the parcel, for which I am truly obliged to you 
I beg of you to make my acknowledgements to the author, Mr. Mason, and thank 
him for the very ingenious little book he has sent me. , . It is remark- 
able, that in this country, though we have books upon music as far back as Tho- 
mas Morley, certainly we have not a book as yet, comparable with the Manual, 
printed at Boston. It is highly creditable to the new world, to set us such a 

2. In a review of one such Method, H. Theodor Hach, editor of T he Musical Ma ga- 
zine r or Re pository of Musical Science . Literature and Intelligence . stated in 
the issue of 9 May, 1840: "The general arrangement is similar to that of The 
Boston Academy's Manual which appears generally to be the model for similar 
works. . . We do not find the work calculated to supersede The Boston 
Academy's Manual; it does not embrace any new, nor so many subjects as the lat- 

to sness 3 oJrtx bejnotan^ii ^XlqqBxi aX tfird ,XoiJ"noo XaoXiiasTfcJ t 5aXJ"X*xXqaXb 
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todix/a aril od" vXiaXXjnXe boA . dIXxb fasiAj bna -re lonsi **o nit/oafli-abav aoaoac 
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subjects with which it dealt. Circulating widely, reviewed extensively by the 
press, the Manual served moreover to apprise the public of the fact that al- 
though the Academy considered church music as second to no other branch of the 
art, its efforts for instruction and improvement were by no means confined to 
that branch alone, as had been erroneously supposed; but rather the aim was to 
establish a system so comprehensive that anyone wishing a musical education 
might find, in the Academy's courses, the means to such end. Thus informed as to 
the opportunities and advantages available, more and more persons enroled as 
Academy pupils, and more and more evident became the desire, aye, the eagerness 
indeed on the part of the public that vocal music be included in the common 
school curriculum — a state of affairs very patent to the School Committee mem- 
bers themselves, unconvinced for the present though certain of these remained. 
But despite these doubting few, an indorsement par excellence of the Manual's 
significance shortly followed, and from a source of seemingly convincing impor- 
tance, namely, The American Institute of Instruction — "pioneer educational in- 
stitution of its kind in America, if not in the world." Invited to appear before 

this body at its Annual Meeting in Boston, August 1834, reason delivered "to a 


very large audience," so it is recorded, an Address on "Music, as a Branch of 
School Instruction, and the Pestalozzian Method of Teaching It." As in 1852, on 
the occasion of his first lecture before the Institute f his remarks were illus- 
trated by his Juvenile Choir and now, as then, the audience responded with 
warmth. At the conclusion of the lecture, the following Resolution, offered by 
Gideon F. Thayer, was unanimously passed: 

Resolved : That the introduction of Vocal Music into our schools is an 
object of high importance to the community, and the American Institute 
of Instruction do hereby most cordially recommend it to public favor. 

If the effect of this resolution upon the "Unconvinced" Committee members 

must be left to one's imagination, it is doubtless certain that they gave it 

more than a passing thought! 

1. See p. 25, The Annals of the American Institute „of Instruction , being A Re- 
cord of its Doings for 5^" Years, from 183U till lb^.Chas. I'!orthenc!7TTew 

BrTTain. "Conn. 1884 . 


Valuable accessories to the Academy's courses, besides the Manual f were pro- 
vided furthermore through the publication at frequent intervals of additional 
works, the purpose being to furnish a series of books designed to aid in the 
progress and development of the art by means of unusual facilities thus offered 
for instruction. 

A number of works in this series, e, g., the Manual (1834), The Boston Acade- 
mes Collection of Church Music (1855) , The Boston Academy's Collection of Cho- 
ruses. (1836), though bearing the Academy's imprint, were compiled and edited by 


Mason, while a still greater number were issued independently either by Mason 

alone, or by him in conjunction with other men as co-editors. 

The series actually began, however, with two previously mentioned books, viz., 

The Juvenile Psalmist (1822) and The Juvenile Lyre (l83Jfc), and was continued as 
a matter of fact for a number of years after the Academy ceased its main activ- 
ity (1847), as the following list citing certain of the books indicates (we give 
the titles, publication dates, and authors — "L. M." for Lowell Mason; "G. J. 
W." for George James Webb; R." for William Russell): 

1. See Appendix A for a list of Lowell Mason's published works including a 
number in the preparation of which he was assisted by other men, though none, 
it is believed, which were not mainly his own composition. Other works, in 
which he himself was the assistant, are omitted, as well as numerous pamphlets, 
single compositions, lectures, published articles, etc. 

2. Samuel Griswold Goodrich (1795-1860), American writer and publisher, widely 
known as Peter Parley, was author or editor of some 170 juvenile and educational 
works. In his Recollections of a Lifetime : or Men and Things I Have Seen (1856) 
he gives statistics of American book production for the period 1820-1856. "From 
1850 to 1840," he writes, "was an era of great and positive development, and 
the foundation of a still more active era of progress and expansion in the book 
trade." To this he appends a list of men who "either first appeared or became 
eminently conspicuous" during the said decade, together with the subjects of 
their chosen fields, e. g., History, Mathematics, Theology, Jurisprudence, 
Essay and Criticism, Fiction, etc., etc., including Educational and Church Mu- 
sic, adding that "Lowell Mason was probably the most successful author in the 
United States." 

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Catel's Harmony 



Lyra Sacra 



Sabbath-School Songs 



Sacrpd Mplodips^ 




G. J. W. 

The Manual 

X 11 V 1 id 1 1 UU. _X, 


L. Iff . 

The Boston Collection of Anthems 




G. J.W. 

Sentences, or Short Anthems* Hvmn Tunes 

Vj 11 U J L>ur V— J V X X X V/ X w X k 1 X v X X 1 11 W J A X V 1 I J X X W.1 IVj ' 

arid Changs 



Thp Boston Acadpmv's Collpction of Churoh Mus'lp 

A X X v-» X_J \*/*-f V> V X 1 ixv CX. VA v_/ 1 LI y w> / _1_ _1_ \_. V X. X X V-/ J V*/ 11U1 V» X 1 X- LIA t_7 — _ 

183 5 


Thp Boston Afadpmv ' "? Coll potion of Chorus ps 



S pi pr* f i nns f*n*p *h h p flhni "p nf* thp Rnq t nn Ar*a rl pmv 



Ocoas 1 onal Psa 1 m and Hvmn Tiinps f Pa T*"ts T • TT • 

VVy V^vvtJ X vllux X ij W XIII CXllVX XX Vx-XXX X UHVivJ \ X C4. X v-/ -1_ j X. X. J 

TIT. TV. V) 



Thp Sabbath-School Harn 

X 11C UuU Uu vll U^/UU J± X XCX x yJ 



Thp •Tiivpnl 1 p SlnfMnP 1 Sr*hnn1 

X U U V V>1 IJ U w u J_ A If . -l.JJ.C~j LA \*t X l VA V_/ J_ 


L. M. 


C\ - »T _ V/ _ 

Th p tTuvpn 1 1p So^t cr stlPT• 

X 11^ \J LA v eili. J.e kA W 11q»J w \T 1 



Mas on ' s Ymmf Ml ti^pl 

J ■ -CX kJ vl 1 O A. VA LAX Ik 1*1 X. X U v X v> X. 



The Odeon 

X llV VA VA V_/ VA X X 




G. J.W. 

Thp Boston (11 pp Boofc 

x. I irr XJVAO vUJl UlwC iJUUlx 

Xv JU 



G . J V/ 

Thp T.vt»1 st 

1 R^R 

-i- ^ 



C T W 

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Thp Sprfl nh 

X u cx d}Jn 

1 8^8 

X. ^) 


Tnvpri*fTp MticjIp f ni 1 SnnHav Snhnnl 

u UV CJlXXU i'lUO X^/ X Ux *J LillLXCl V UV..J1UUXO 

1 R^Q 


Thp T T ndp"rn Psalmist 

x lie ±.+kj\a ex 11 i oa X.1U x w o 


L. M. 

Thp "Rn^ ton Anthpn Pnnlr 

i ne jjvo wuii Ail i/iiei i i^jkj kj xv 

1 R"5,0 


Thp Ronton Sohnnl Sonp* RnnTc 




Little Songs for Little Singers 



The Gentlemen's Glee Book 



Carmina Sacra 



Book of Chants 



The American Sabbath-School Singing Book 



1. Charles Simon Catel (1773-1830), theorist, composer, pianist, 
became professor of harmony at the Paris Conservatoire in 1795* 
His Traite d 'har moni e was first published in 1802, and soon trans- 
lated into German, English and Italian. Regarded for years as a 
standard work, an American edition, with additional notes and 
explanations, by Lowell Mason, was published in I832., (James 
Loring. Boston. ) 

2. On pp. 8-12 of Sacred Melodies there appears the musical setting 

of a hymn beginning, Hark, 1 tis the holy temple ' s bell. An accompany- 
ing note in reference to the hymn reads: "This beautiful Hymn for 
Sabbath Morning, was written and presented for publication in this 
work, by John Quincy Adams, late President of the United States 
of America." 


oci §nj 





Songs of Asaph (Sighty-one original numbers) 
Twenty-one Madrigals 
The Vocalist 

Elements of Musical Articulation 
The Psaltery 

The Primary School Song Book 
The Song Book of the School-Room 
The Hymnist 

Vocal Exercises and Solfeggios 

The Glee Hive 

The Normal Singer 

The Song Garden, Parts T and II 

The Song Garden, Part III 

1843 L.M. 

1343 L.M. & G.J.W. 

1844 L.M. & G.J.W. 

1845 L.M. & W.R. 

1845 L.M. & G.J.W. 

1846 L.M. 

1847 L.M. & G.J.W. 

1850 L.M. 
1850 L.M. 

1851 L.M. & G.J.W. 

1856 L.M. 
1864 L.M. 
1866 L.M. 

To one of the books here listed, The Juvenile Singin g School , 
there attaches an interest quite unique, for it bears the twofold 
distinction of having been the first book of songs adopted by an 
American public school (the Iiawes Grammar School of South Boston, 
Massachusetts), and of containing the first two songs ever sung 
at a public demonstration (14 August, I838) by children whose 
musical instruction had been received in an American common school: 
Flowers , wild wood flower s , previously mentioned, and Murmur , gentle 
lyre (Night Song) — the musical setting of the former being 
original with Lowell Mason, that of the latter being an arrange- 
ment by him of a German melody for verses by Samuel Francis 
Smith, D. D. But this uniqueness is to a certain extent shared 
b y T A e . Juve nile Lvre , since this was the first book including 

secular school-songs to be published ^ in this country at least. 
Among Mason's several original contributions to the book is his 
setting for the poem by Mrs. Sarah J. Hale and familiar to all, 
Mary had a little lamb. 

As The Juvenile Singing School took its place in class-room 
and home, children and parents responded to its salutary influences 


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with joy — influences of well-being, sociability, and beauty; 
and influences too which were akin to those of its inspiriting 
forerunner, The Juvenile Lyre * 

The J uvenile Songster , published in the same year as The Juveni le 
Singing Schoo l , 1837 » appealed not alone to children of America, 
it is of interest to note, but to those of another land as well, 
being issued simultaneously in London (J. Alfred Novello) and in 
Boston (Wilkins & Carter). 

The above publications (and we here refer particularly to such 
as appeared during the most active life of the Academy) stimulated 
in no uncertain manner the interest of both teacher and pupil 
in the cause of vocal instruction. Children were now supplied 
with songs to sing, and instructors with a system which, its 
author believed, if understood and faithfully followed could 
render them "properly qualified teachers, to take charge of 
classes," and enable them to successfully explain the principles 
essential to those "who would lay a good foundation for musical 
excellence. " 

That adequate opportunity might be provided for the practical 
inculcation of these "essential principles," Mason now proposed 
that the Academy issue an invitation to teachers of singing- 
schools and others to attend a Teachers ' C lass , a Class for i: 
instruction in the improved method of teaching vocal music. 
The plan was quickly adopted, and in August, 1834- , within two 
months from the publication of the Manual , twelve persons for- 
gathered at Boston as members of the Class for Teachers of Music, 
the first of its kind anywhere to be held. 

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a course of lectures by the Academy's professors, Mason and 
Webb, designed to illustrate Pestalozzianism as applied to the 
teaching of vocal music and as set forth in the Manual , engaged 
the close attention of those present. At the end of the ten 
days 1 meeting —with morning, afternoon, and evening sessions — 
the members, in expressing their entire satisfaction with the 
course, urged that a Class be announced as well for the following 
year. Accordingly, in August, 133?, a similar course was given, I 
its success even more pronounced than that of the initial year. / 

Eighteen persons attended, besides several of the 1834- Class. 

if JfeAcd ***** 

The number of lectures was increased, a course in harmony being ; -^o 
added as were also various exercises illustrative of different 
styles of church music, appropriate manner of performance, and 
tas te • 

In August, I836, the Class showed still further increase, with 
an enrollment of twenty-eight, exclusive of several from the two 

previous Classes. Those in attendance at this third meeting 

with tha bait systmm af teachiiv JDM§ic in aatual lse abroad. 7"^ 
inaugurated, under Mason's leadership, a separate organization 

denominated the Musical Convention, for the discussion of 

questions and the interchange of views and ideas anent the 

general subject of musical education, church music, and musical 

performances,— discussions and debates which proved to be highly 

interesting and useful. Among a number of Resolutions unanimously 

1. The Musical Convention was a natural development of the 
"Singing-School." As early as 1-829 the Central Musical Society of 
Concord, N. H. , held in that city for two days the country's 
earliest Musical Convention. Its conductor was Henry Eaton Moore 
(1805-4-1), compiler of the New H ampshire Collection , North-Har p, 
and other works . 


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adopted at this meeting, two of particular significance are here 

1. Resolved , That, in order to diffuse a knowledge 
of music through the community, it is necessary 

to teach it to our youth; and that it is desirable, 
and practicable, to introduce it into all our 
schools, as a branch of elementary education. 

2. Resolved , That it is a source of deep regret to 
this Convention, that, in so many instances, 
Religious Societies and Parishes, instead of 
exerting a fostering care and influence over 
the cause of Sacred Music, neglect it, suffer it 
to fall into unskilful hands , and thus , not only 
wound the cause itself, but make it a detriment, 
rather than a help, to the best interests of the 

For a considerable period —with the exception of 183 7 > Mason 
being in Europe at the time — the two bodies assembling annually 
held their meetings simultaneously but so arranged, however, that 
the sessions of the one in no wise interfered with those of the 
other. Mason's visit to Europe was "for the purpose," in the 
words of Henry Barnard, editor of The A merica n Journal of Educa - 
tion (Vol. IV f 1857) > "of making himself personally acquainted 
with the best systems of teaching music in actual use abroad. 
In Paris, he found Wilhelm's method in use, and popular as taught 
in the schools of its author; but this being based on those prin- 
cinles which Mason had, some years before, reluctantly been 
compelled by his convictions to abandon, and being merely a 
carefully prepared course of me chanical trainin g , could lay no 
claim to his attention. In Wurtemberg and the northern parts of 
Switzerland, he became acquainted with Kubler, Gersbach, Fellen- 

bergi and others; — Pestalozzi and NMgeli were no more. The 

Foiiijui Cultivation organist 

three first named pursued, to greater or less extent, the inductive 

method; and, from personal communication with them, he became 


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more familiar with its practical application to music and to 
school studies generally." 

Upon Hason's return from abroad, in the autumn of 1837» both 
the Teachers' Class and the Musical Convention re-assembled 
during the following August, and with a combined registration 
of one hundred and thirty-eight — all the eastern, several of 
the middle, southern and western States being represented. 

Indicative of the musical conditions in many sections of the 

country during the era under consideration, an experience of 

William Mason, when a lad of eleven years, and as related in 

his "Memories of a Musical Life" (The Century Co. New York. 1901), 

is to the point: 

"It is difficult," he writes, "to realize the 
crudity of musical taste in the early days. I re- 
member that in 1840 my father conducted a convention 
in Vermont — I think in Woodstock. We went by rail 
as far as we could , and then traveled a number of 
hours by coach. We were received by the dignitaries 
of the town, and conducted to the house in which we 
were to stay. While we were shaking off the dust 
of travel, we heard the sounds of drum and fife. 
Looking out of the window, we found that these 
instruments headed a small procession ?/hich had 
come to escort us to the church. The drum and fife 
were the instrumental outfit of the town; so, led by 
these, my father and I marched with the magnates of 
the place to the church. I still remember how 
foolish I felt." 

Associated with Lowell Lias on through oncoming years were a 

number of fellow-workers, in addition to Webb, men well equipped, 


through regular attendance at the Teachers' Class, to neet the 
requirements of their several departments, assistants Gf kindred 
ideals, and of one purpose: George F. Root, lecturer on the 
Formation, Delivery and Cultivation of the Voice, organist, and 
chorus-director; A. N. Johnson, lecturer and teacher of Harmony, 





*>o rtoi.i'Bvl 


choir-master and organist; W. B. Bradbury, composer, organist, 
chorus-director, compiler of successful collections of church 
and secular music alike; and, multun in parvo , the gifted 
William Mason, young at the outset though he was, yet even then 
a pianist of mark and rare charm. These, and others, with 
Lowell Lias on as lecturer on Church Music and as practical 
demonstrator of the Art of Teaching, rendered timely instruc- 
tion, musical stimulation, and happiness to hundreds upon hundreds. 

As the members convened at Boston for the 1838 meetings, a 
lively interest was manifested in the twofold order of exercises, 
now still further augmented. Lias on incorporated a lecture on 
Chanting^ (that form of religious worship then but little knovm 
in this country), with explanatory remarks as to the proper manner 
of performance, the significance and inherent simplicity of the 
Chant, emphasizing too the fact that since "in chanting, the 
very words of the Scripture may be used, that this was much in 
its favor and of itself sufficient to commend it to those who 
desire to make 'the statutes of the Lord their songs in the 
house of their pilgrimage.'" 

Webb, too, added new features to the year's program — a lecture 
on Thorough Bass, elucidated by illustrations, and also the 
practice of Glee, Madrigal, and Chorus Singing. 

A number of questions raised and discussed at the Convention 

1. In I834 Lowell Lias on published his Sentences , or Short 
Anthems, Hymn T unes , and Chants , one of this country's earliest 

works containing Chants. 

In 1842 there appeared his Book of Chants , a volume of 174 
pages, consisting of "selections from the sacred scriptures, 
adapted to appropriate music, and arranged for chanting designed 
for congregational use in public or social worship". 

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included (1) Should congregational singing in connection with 
the choir be encouraged in the present state of musical cultiva- 
tion? (2) Is it desirable to encourage a general introduction 
of chanting into public worship? (3) Ought vocal music to be 
made a branch of education in our corn on schools? 

Spirited debate upon the questions then followed during the 
course of which, speaking to the third question, Mason stated 
"that in several of the Boston schools vocal music had already 
been made a regular branch of study; that it had been introduced 
into several private schools, the teachers of which have expressed 
not only their conviction of its utility, but that it did not 
operate to the disadvantage of other studies." Continuing, he 
announced "that he had taught it in the Hawes public school in 
South Boston, two days in a week, one hour each day; one half 
hour being devoted to the boys 1 department, and the other to the 
girls'; and that there also the teachers bore testimony in favor 
of the experiment, saying that on the days when lessons were 
given, they had observed a fuller attendance, and that it by no 
means interfered with other studies." And finally, he explained 
"that while in Germany the past summer, he had taken considerable 
pains to inform himself upon this point, and found, that in 
schools of all kinds, vocal music was an every day branch, and 
that it was considered a regular part of education; that in some 
parts of Germany and Switzerland, and of late in France, it had 

been introduced by law, and that the universal testimony is in 
its favor." 1 

1. Proceedings of the Musical Convention in Boston , August 16, 183 8 . 
Printed by vote of the Convention. Kidder & Wright. I838. 

dtr to 

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Whereupon, the principal speaker in opposition, George Hood 
(remembered author of A History of Music in New England , 1846), 
declared "that his remarks in the negative were offered only to 
incite discussion, that he was decidedly in favor of, and should 
vote for, the affirmative of the question." 

As the question was put, a unanimous "aye" resulted, and so 
likewise regarding questions 1 and 2. 

A resolution, forthwith submitted by Mr. Hood, and readily 

adopted, read: 

" Resolved , That, as the time for the last ten days 
has been spent in a manner so profitable and 
interesting; we will use our best influence to 
make the objects of these meetings generally 
known. " 

Following the appointment of a committee to draft a Constitution 

to be reported at the next annual meeting, and the transaction 

of other and minor business, it was voted: 

"That after singing Old Hundred, the Convention 
should adjourn to August 21, 1839." 

Indubitably the members of the School Committee promptly learned 

of the above affirmative votes, sensing especially, we like to 

believe, that on question number 3, and doubtless too they learned 

of the words of a certain member, Bartholomew Brown, a well-known 

musician of the time, who asserted: 

"From this meeting there must be a result, its v 
deliberations will be known, and its doings will 
probably affect the whole community. 11 

But while the sessions of the 1838 Convention resulted in 

decisions of importance, they were somewhat marred nevertheless 

by a disquieting rumor, indicative of impending opposition on 

the part of a prominent member. 


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Pursuant to call, however , both the Teachers' Class and the 
Musical Convention re-assembled on August 21, 1839 > and with a 
considerably enlarged enrollment, totaling two hundred and sixty. 

In general, the proceedings of the 1839 Convention resembled 
those of the preceding year, though the Constitution as submitted, 
being deemed unsatisfactory, failed of adoption. Still, as the 
majority of members realized the importance of having a Constitu- 
tion, a new committee was appointed to draft and present such 
at the next meeting. On the closing day of the sessions, with 
resolutions adopted, business despatched, and hopes expressed 
that future relations might be altogether harmonious —despite per 
sis tent reverberations of the d-i^ttir-bing rumor — the Conven- 
tion voted adjournment to 1840. 

Accordingly, on August 19, 184-0, the Convention again met in 
Boston, as did the Teachers' Class, and with a joint membership 

^ — N^p* 

of three hundred and forty-four, 245 gentlemen, 99 ladies. The 
new committee, having redrafted the Constitution and By-Laws 
reported the same to the Convention, and these, with slight 
amendments, were duly adopted. Agreeably to Article 1 of the 
Constitution, the name N ationa l Musica l Convention now replaced 
that of former years, viz., Musical Convention. 

Discussions of divers questions occupied the attention of the 
Convention members through several days, while lectures and 
remarks by the Hon. Samuel A. Eliot and others contributed to 
the interest of all. And this notwithstanding the fact that 
the «ajH3T»o sai -d rumor was now become a definite actuality. For 
Mr. Webb had resigned late in 1839 » as explained in the Boston 
Academy's Anmial Report, July 15 > 1840, from the "office he had 

Following the Boston meeting of 1842 (»ith 567 members), the ten-day 

meeting of 1843 (347 members), and the five-day session of 1844 (551 members) 

— all marked for most part by a spirit of concord and cooperation — the name 
A merican Musical Convention was definitely discontinued. ' 

Thereaf ter *both Class and Convention were together designated 
by one and the same title, or rather by one of several, e. g. , 
Convention oj* Teacher s , Music Teachers 1 I nstitutes , Teachers ' 
Insti tute and Musical Convention , though often by the simpler 
term Musical Conventio n. On most occasions, by whatever name, 
the Convention program was practically identical with that ^ 
developed by-^e>3os-ton---organi2€i-tion« This comprised lectures 
and exercises usually as follows: 

I, Theory of Music: Harmony, Counterpoint, and 

General Analysis, CUwM^THWft^ 

WC'Vv. l.vv-.«- ft. Lh. : 

II. Class Teaching: Including the Inductive Method, ^.v n : t ^ 

illustrated and contrasted 1 
with others. ^/^.sw. 

III. Vocal Cultivation: Physical Laws of the Vocal Organs; 

Methods of Practice; Vocalizing 
and Solfeggio Exercises. 

IV. Church Music: Chants, Hymn- Tune s , Anthems; Style 

or Taste in Performance, relating 
to both Music and Y/ords. 

V. Secular Music: Part Songs, Glees, Madrigals, with 

relevant instructions .J 

VI. Choral Practice: Singing by the whole company; 

works of Handel, Haydn, Mozart, 
Beethoven, and other composers. 

VII. Public Performances: Concerts and Oratorios. 

In his lecture on Church Music, Part IV of the Program, 
Mason devoted a portion thereof to describing different styles 
of religious song — Psalmody, Chant, Anthem, Sentence, Hymn- 
Tune. He emphasized the importance of singing "with appropriate- 
ness, and v/ith discernment of the distinctive emotional 

jl Lotfell ifcson, and George James Webb, The Glee Hive; a Collection of Gloss 
and Part-Songs . Selected and arranged for the I.Iusical Conventions and 
classeT of the Boston Academy of Music . New York: Hfeson & Law, 1851. Revised 
and enlarged edition, New York: Mason Brothers, 1853. 

3 hi *ic 

1 1c ".loerfT .1 


character" of the text, and stressed also the importance of 
appropriateness in a musical setting for its text. A hymn- 
tune, for example, should be conceived so far as possible in 
the spirit of the lyric s verse for which it is to be the musical 
setting, the one thereby becoming the complement of the other — 
©e the hymn devotional, meditative, hortatory, descriptive/* 
<Hdaj?tic. That those present might the more fully understand 
this, the speaker ^fchen proceeded, by way of practical illustration 
to direct the Bowdoin Street Church choir, the members «£~wh±eh 
assisted him whenever feasible, in the singing of ap pr o priat e 


music for hymns expressive of each of the above types; for he 
hoped, in this manner, to stamp upon the minds of his hearers 
the importance of the principle stated, and he quickly added 
that what he had said concerning appropriateness in regard to 
the hymn- tune was equally applicable to any and every song-form. 
Now it was customary to devote the evening sessions of the 
Convention to choral practice^ and largely to oratorio, this 
exercise culminating on the final evening — to the delight of 
both the sjjagers and an audience of relatives, friends, and 


guests — in a Concert of choruses from the Mes s iah , Creation, 
Elijah, Staba t Mate r , and other works, ^with Mason conducting, 
and Webb at the organ, or pianoforte. Thus the Convention 
revealed to numberless persons the nobility of oratorio par 
excel lence , And in so doing it-stimulated serious choral study. 
Apropos of this study, Mason urged the Convention members to 
note with care, for instance, the appropriateness of Handel's 

^JT I SUPS 2*7** Si 

chorus themes for their texts, the flexibility of their melodic 
lines as governed by the figures or ideas textually expressed — 
to observe the master's subtle "discernment of the distinctive 
emotional character," of the texts. 

And what of the manner of singing, so that the texts might be clearly 
given and understood? Lias on invariably dwelt upon the point in speaking to his 
classes, entreating their members to enunciate distinctly, to pay due regard 
to proper articulation, so that whether singing in solo or in chorus each word 
of the text, the meaning and significance of the literary comx'leiaent of the 
music, might be readily intelligible to the hearer. He explained to the singers — 
as in fact he had written in his , anual — that "the tone in singing is 
chiefly dependent on the vowels ; v ence these must be delivered with special ac- 
curacy, and duly prolonged; that articulation is almost entirely dependent on the 
ponsonants f which therefore should receive very particular attention. They 

should be delivered or sung quickly, distinctly, and with great care." On a cer- 
tain occasion as one of his classes sang a line that ended with an "s" sound, and' 
as t±:e singers^f ailing to keep perfect time, did not finish together, there fol- 
lowed a succession of harsh, hissing, sibilant sounds which grated, like the fil- 
ing of a saw, upon his nerves. Drawing up his face, arms, and shoulders, as if in 
painful contortion, he exclaimed: "O-hl I should think I had fallen into a nest 

of s-erpents." He then tQld-the..c.lass that in singing, the "s" should be sounded 

lightly, and to drive home the point he brought down the finger of one hand upon 
the end of a finger 


of the other hand, whereupon taking it quickly away, he said: "you should 
touch the •s 1 as you would touch a coal of fire." Characteristically simple 
though the illustration was, it proved eff ective^and long remembered. 

The Musical Convention of 1845 assembled in August for its eleventh meeting, 
and with a list of singing members numbering 545 — from all of the New England 
States, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio. 

The twei£feh Convention, 1846, opened ©peaed on the 19th of August its ses- 
ssions of nine days^ explains The Boston Recorder of September 3, and with an 
attendance of 233 ladies and 509 gentlemen, the place of meeting being changed 
from the Odeon to the more commodious Tremont f emple* fod«*^W* u ' ^ * 

For the 1847 meeting of the Teachers* Institute and Musical Convention over 
800 members assembled on August 17, and of these. 600 comprised the singing cho- 
rus. Again the meeting was held at Tremont Temple, as were those also of 1848, 
1849, 1850, and 1851. 

In The Musical Gazette . August 28, 1848, it appears tha t the Convention e£ 
that^asr "assembled on the 8th instant ... the number present at the opening 
session exceeding that of any previous year," uHMfeat the printed Catalogue for 
the year -^£^deb-«e-*€«»H»-copy) g&*es an alphabetical list of 1071 names. - 
"In the evening," continues The Gazette , "some six hundred singers filled the 
side galleries of the Temple, and brought out, with tremendous power, choruses 
from several of the great masters, closing at nine o'clock, with Old Hundred 
in unison." As usual, Mason and Webb officiated in their respective departments? 
and among their assistants during the highly interesting sessions were George F. 
Root, William Russell and his son, Silas A. Bancroft, L. P. Homer, and William 
Mason — the final appearance of the latter at £h€ Conventions, as he sailed 
in May, 1849, for Europe, there to continue his musical studies and to 

1. William Mason, Memories of a Musical Life, p. 27. New Yorks The Century Co. 


remain through four years. J-a^^ 1 - 

Although the 1849 Convention ■ had been announced for the customary month of 

August, its opening date was postponed to October 8 — as explained in The 

Puritan Recorder . of September 6» 

The postponement has been made in consequence of the severe 
heat so oommon at this season of the year, causing much incon- 
venience and some sickness in years past. By reason of the pre- 
valence of the cholera in many parts of the country, although 
Boston happily has been thus far nearly exempt from the disease, 
it is deemed prudent, while there is a susceptibility of the mal- 
ady, to avoid all exciting causes; it is therefore regarded as es- 
pecially injudicious to hold a seriae of meetings requiring so 
much exertion, and productive of so much excitement, at this time 
the present year. 

(Signed) Lowell Mason 
Boston, July 50, 1849. Geo. Jas. Webb 

However, on the 8th October, 1000 persons registered as members of the fif- 
teenth Convention which, in its several days of sessions proved of more than 
usual interest. On the first evening, states The Puritan Recorder of October 25, 
an uncommonly pleasant feature added to the enjoyment of all, being announced 
as follows: 

"An offering to the Teachers' Institute and Musical Conven- 
tion at Boston, Oci;. 1849, consisting of a choral in unison , 
with obligato accompaniment for the pianoforte, composed at 
Leipsic, Germany, Sept. 17, by a young American, a musical stu- 
dent. It was received this day by the steamer Cambria from Liver- 
pool, printed in the afternoon, and distributed to the Class at 
the time of the performance." 

It was sung with a good degree of power and accuracy, though 
without rehearsal, by the multitude of voices, accompanied accord- 
ing to the intention of the author; who, it was underatood, is 
Wm. Mason, who took so prominent a part as organist and pianist in 
these exercises the last season. 

A good part of the second day of the 1849 Convention was devoted to rehearsing 

Mozart's Mass, No. 12, preliminary to its performance in the evening; while in 

the afternoon the entire company, having been invited to attend a rehearsal of 

the Musical Fund Society, adjourned to The Melodeon Hall to hear the seventh 

symphony of Beethoven as performed there by some forty players, under Mr. Webb's 


On the closing evening, the Mass was admirably given ( noted The Putitan Record 
j§r ), for "most effective" were chorus, soloists, and orchestra. "Thus ended the 
Teachers' Institute for 1849," wrote The Recorder in conclusion, "a musical fes- 
tival long to be remembered, and long to be continued, as we hope, in its annual 
meetings; and may the motto adopted by Haydn, and written upon his scores, ever 
be inscribed on all the doings and felt in the influence of these annual musi- 
cal assemblies — 'Laus Deo.*" 

With the opening on August 26, 1850, of the sixteenth meeting of The Teachers' 
Institute and Musical Convention, ample evidence there was of the continually- 
widening influence of the twofold organization in that its membership now to- 
taled 1176 — 502 ladies and 674 gentlemen, and from many sections of the count- 
ry, according to a copy of the printed Catalogue of the Teachers ' Institute and 
Musical Convention , assembled in Boston , August . 1850 . among the Lowell Mason 
memorabilia and before us as we write. 


3^ z+r 

"The number of those who actually took part in the singing exercises, 
concerts, &c," as one who was present commented in an article, "A Sketch," 
contributed to Arthur ' s Home Gazette r of Philadelphia, "was about 1000." 

"These were divided," the article continues, "into 
four distinct choirs, of about 250 singers each, and 
arranged all around the spacious gallery of the Tre- 
mont Temple, filling it to its utmost capacity. This 
immense choir, consisting mostly of good singers, • . • 
performed several of the choruses of the great masters 
with wonderful precision. To describe the effect of so 
grand a chorus would be impossible. One might as well 
attempt to condense into words the ceaseless and mighty 
song of the waters of the Niagara. At the signal given, 
these thousand smiling faces all rise like a thousand 
little suns rising on darkness. Another signal is given, 
and a volume of of beautiful and blending tones is heard. 
... Not a huge mass of heterogenous and unharmonious 
sounds, but the effect of well-trained voices, keeping time 
and tune in a sublime chorus. That magnificant composition 
of Handel — 'When round about the starry throne, 1 and Righ- 
ini's grand chorus — 'The Lord is great,' and a very diffi- 
cult chorus by Mendelssohn, entitled 'Light, 1 and Handel's 
'Grand Halleluiah Chorus,' were all performed with a precision 
and accuracy which would have done credit to any musical 
society in the country. The excellency of the voices was a 
matter of remark by many intelligent and educated musicians. 

It is worth a trip from the most distant point in the 
United States to attend this annual Festival. Let any teacher 
of music go, and if he has a spark of enthusiasm, or of 
music in his soul, he will return to his field of labor with 
a freshness and vigor that he never realized before. . . . 
It must be apparent to all our readers, that Mr, Mason did not 
mistake his calling when he closed the bank-ledger and opened 
the singing book. He has been the instrument of an amount of 
good to his country which cannot be overrated " 

Numbered among those attending the Convention, in addition to chorus 
singers, were teachers, professional vocalists and amateurs, clergymen, 
and several young aspirants being coached in the art of conducting, as well 
solo singers, organists, and pianists. Among the latter were musicians well- 
known in their day, though even their names are now, alas, for most part •bat 
vague memories. 

The 1850 Convention, what with its choruses from master-works, songs and 
concerted pieces and instrumental solos, together with teaching exercises 
and analytical lectures by Mason and Webb, thus offered much, in its sess- 

ions throughout six days, for the enjoyment and edification of all. 3^0-.; i 8 
Assembling on Monday, August 25, 1851, — the final year of the Teachers 1 
Class at Boston, owing to Lowell Mason's departure on December 20 of that 
year for a second visit to Europe and also his removal to New York City 
shortly after returning in April, 1853, — the Seventeenth Musical Conven- 
tion climaxed such gatherings with a larger membership than ever, register- 
ing upwards of twelve hundred ladies and gentlemen, and with an enthusi- 
asm surpassing that of any former meeting. "All though Monday the members 
increased," commented The Congregationalist of September 5, 1851, "and in 
the evening the galleries of Tremont Temple, those immense galleries were 
full. On Tuesday evening they were crowded, and a hundred or more were seat- 
ed on the platform in front of the organ. It was an animating sight." And 
of the many present, several had attended the Class each year since its in- 
ception in 1834. 

Mason's change of residence, however, in no sense lessened his activity 

with either the Class or the Convention held elsewhere than at Boston; for 

just as during the period prior to his leaving the city he had directed 


such assemblies at other points as well as at Boston, so he continued for 

a decade or more following his removal to New York — a fact leading John 

S. Dwight to state in his Journal of Music t Boston, August 11, 1855, that 

Lowell Mason, who first galvanized the whole system of 
conventions into such reproductive life, seems to have 

. Such as that, for instance, in Vermont, August 11, 1851, and in referring 
to which The Brattleboro Eagle recorded the following: 

Interesting Incident 

During the session of the Musical Convention at Saxton's River Vil- 
lage, between 11 and 12 o'clock, A. M», Mr. Mason turned to page 108 of 
Cftfltftffa Laudls, and said, "At this hour, our friends in Boston are at 
the Central Church, attending the funeral of him who was in my mind when 
I wrote the name over this tune — ROGERS." After paying a brief but 
touching tribute to the memory of his beloved pastor and associate in 
conducting the Sabbath service in Winter-street, Mr. Mason proposed that 
the tune be sung. There was many a moistened eye, as the large audience 
united, with voices subdued and chastened by the tenderest emotion, in 
singing to the memory of the Rev. William M. Rogers, the following beau- 
tiful and appropriate words: 

"Yes, there are joys that cannot die, 

With God laid up in store! 

Treasures beyond the changing sky, 

More bright than golden ore. 

To that bright world my soul aspires, 
With rapturous delightj 
Oh, for the Spirit's quickening powers, 
To speed me in my flight." 

ceased to preside over it here; yet, veteran as he is, 
we hear of him ceaselessly traversing the length and 
breadth of the land, lecturing and holding Conventions 
to the great joy of "much people," 

But although the Teachers' Class no longer regularly met at Boston, its 
influence, difficult to over estimate, lived on into the future # Hundreds 
of persons having attended the Class during the seventeen years of its Bos- 
ton continuance, on returning to their respective localities warmly heralded 
its actuating purposes, and more and more extensively put into practice its 
pedagogical principles waweby they themselves had been signally benefited. 
Through the Musical Convention, too, the influence was carried on; for dur- 
ing the thirty years and more of its wide vogue and success its educational 
effectiveness rested, basically, upon the principles of instruction set forth 
in the Manual and demonstrated by the Teachers 1 Class. 

Just as the singing-school (central recreational point of the community as 
it had been) provided instruction in the elementary rules for singing, in 
the rudiments of music in reading from note, in carrying one f s own voice- 
part and in beating time, so the Musical Convention — typically an American 
"institution" like its forerunner — provided instruction in various, ad- 
vanced branches of the art. As the germinating kernal from which grew sturdy 
choral societies throughout the country, the Convention broadened general 
musical progress, and a more intimate acquaintance with good music; while in 
furthering voice cultivation, choir and congregational singing, and an appre- 
ciation of harmonic and contrapuntal effects through familiarization with 
master-works, it was an important factor in the artistic and cultural devel- 
opment of the American people, as furthermore it had aided in the introduc- 
tion of music into the public schools. 

As Musical Conventions multiplied in number, the demand for capable chorus 
conductors naturally followed, for men competent likewise both as instruct- 
ors and lecturers on musical subjects, "men who had strength of leadership 
and power to sway an audience, and it is no exaggeration to say that most 


\ of the men who displayed such powers and became noted convention leaders were 
trained or directly influenced by Lowell Mason." 

As may be seen from the typical program, given above, the Convention afforded 
musical instruction in two distinct ways — pedagogical and choral — and it 
early ensued that those members who aimed to become proficient teachers evinced 
a preference for the former, with less interest in the latter, while those who 
attended through a love of singing cared more for choral practice than for 
training in the art of teaching. This state of affairs led in time to the form- 
ation on the one hand of pedagogical institutions, on the other hand to that of 
choral organizations. And although the Teachers 1 Class and the Musical Conven- 
tion, as such, passed from the scene, as did the singing-school, years ago, 
their vivifying spirit characterized various successive activities for which 
they paved the way — the Normal Musical Institute, for instance, Public School 
Music, Conservatories of Music, Music Teachers State Associations, The Music 
Teachers National Association, and Music Festivals — a notable example of 
the latter being The Worcester Musical Convention, as it was called in 1858, 
the year of its origin, and later upon its formal organization, in 1865, as 
The Worcester County Musical Convention, with representatives from over a 
score of towns and villages among its singers. And still later, as its choral 
interest predominated quite to the exclusion of other features, the name was 
again changed to that under which its broadening, continuous success is to-day 
nationally known, and internationally, The Worcester Festival. 

— S 

1. Edward Bailey Birge, History of Public School Music £n ihe_ United S^es , * <. 

Oliver Ditson Company. 1928. New and Augmented Edition, 1937. 

Chapter Xlll J>!~3 
Part Two 

The Boston Academy of Music, for two and a half years from its inception, 

had held its choir rehearsals, its children's classes and other exercises in 

the vestry of the Bowdoin Street Church — as also on two afternoons of each 

week in the chapel of the Old South Church. Its government, however, had felt 

for some time the need of accomodations better adapted to its requirements, the 

necessity, in short, of a building in which the various activities might be 

centralized. During the year 1835 an opportunity arose for the realization of 

this end. It so chanced that the building at the junction of Federal and Frank- 
lin Streets — then an excellent location — known as the Federal, or Boston, 
Theatre, at this time became available. A lease for a term of years was secured. 
Extensive alterations were at once taken in hand resulting in ample space for 
conveniently arranged class and lecture rooms, an adequate stage, and an audi- 
torium with seating capacity in its parquet and four galleries for fifteen hun- 
dred persons, as well as standing room for one thousand more. One of the finest 

and most powerful organs in the country, built by Thomas Appleton, was promptly 

installed. The building, renamed the Odeon, was formally opened on August 5, 


1855, the Hon. Samuel A. Eliot delivering a dedicatory address. 

With advantages such as these, the Academy forthwith considerably extended 
its operations, advancing thereby its usefulness and widening its influence. Its 
choir, now increased by thirty-five ladies and gentlemen numbered nearly two 

1. See the 4th Annual Report of the Boston Academy of Music, May 25, 1856. 

2. So states The. Musical Gazette P Boston, May 2, 1858. Vol. 1, No. 1. 

5. The address was reprinted verbatim in The Musical Library . of August and of 
October, 1855, while portions thereof appeared in various periodicals. 

hundred members; while an orchestra, invigorating implement that it was al- 
though consisting mostly of amateurs, constituted a no less welcome than im- 
portant adjunct. An increase moreover in the number of professors was now 
made, by the appointment of the aforementioned musician and violinist, Joseph 
A. Keller, as instrumental instructor and ^direc^w for the time being, of 
the orchestra. Five public concerts by the choir of the Academy assisted by 

the orchestra shortly followed, their programs presenting to enthusiastic 


audiences a variety of works never previously heard in Boston. 

In addition to his juvenile classes and those of adults, Mason now instruct- 
ed two groups of ladies and gentlemen at the Odeon, with still another 
group in the neighboring city of Providence, Rhode Island, each of some two 
hundred singers. While carrying on his singing-classes, too, during portions 
of the year at Cambridge, Lynn, Salem, and other Massachusetts points, as well 
as inaugurating one such at the Beneficent Church in Providence, he continued 
to conduct groups of pupils in the several private schools of Boston, as 
previously noted, and elsewhere, in which music had come to be a part of the 

course of instruction, e, g.,Chauncy Hall School (the first boys* school to 


introduce singing by note as a general exercise), William B. Fowle's Monito- 
rial School for Girls, the Mount Vernon School of Jacob Abbott, the Academy 
at Randolph, Massachusetts, and the Female Seminary in Ipswich. Through his 
instrumentality, too, classes were now instructed by pupils of the Academy in 
various Boston sections, as well as in many a suburb, all being well attended, 
the total number of adults receiving musical instruction in Boston, on the 
Pestalozzian method, approximating two thousand, and that of children, taught 
by Mason, or by his pupils, exceeding nine hundred. Complying, also, with the 

1. See Fourth Annual Report of the Boston Academy of Music, May 25, 1836. 

2. Thomas Cushing, Historical Sketch of Chauncy Hall School with Catalo- 
gue* 1828-1894 . David Clapp & Son. Boston. 1895. 

growing number of requests for lectures, he was from now on even 
more active in this field than in any preceding year, addressing 
church societies, educational associations, musical organizations, 
and numerous schools, — distance or date being no deterrent, in 
so far as stated duties permitted. Thus to many audiences he 
carried timely information regarding the causes espoused by the 
Academy, with addresses at Boston, New York, Hartford, and other 
central cities; "at Newton, New Bedford, and Bradford," in 
Lassachusetts , notes the Annual Report of the Academy,. "at Bruns- 
wick and Portland, in Maine; at Portsmouth and Exeter, in New 
Hampshire; and at New Haven, in Connecticut." 

The circumstances under which one, especially, of his Boston 
lectures took place were somewhat unusual and may be of interest, 
we -trust* to the reader — since to the lecturer, himself, they 
must have been movingly so. Upon invitation of a committee, 
the lecture was given on January 13 » l835» at the Church in 
Brattle Square of which, a quarter of a century earlier, the 
Rev. Joseph Stevens Buckninster had been the minister. He it 
was, as may be remembered, whose "reverential playing" and 
kindly hospitality had made lasting impression upon the youthful 
Mason during the winter he passed in Boston, I8l0-l8ll, when 
first separated from his family at Lledfield, and his companions 

The historic Church in Brattle Square, known as "The 
Manifesto Church," owing to its protest regarding certain 




Puritan usages and the introduction of innovations of a more 
liberal tendency, and which in the words of Dr. Oliver Wendell 
Holmes , 

"Wore on its boson, as a bride might do, 
The iron breastpin that the rebels threw," 

had been the"first to break away fr6m the fixed order of the New 

England Congregationalism; " and it had been the first also "to 

lead the way in hymn singing among Boston churches," — albeit 

ultraconservative in the matter of Song Worship for a number of 

years following its inauguration in 1699 — "adopting in 1755 

Tate and Brady with an appendix of hymns to be selected by a 

committee. " 

Buckminster , wholly sympathetic, during the period of his 
ministry, l805-l8l2, with the forward movement of his church, 
contributed notably to its further progress. Compiling, in 
1308, a book of hymns for the use of his congregation, he later 
assisted, in 1810, as one of a committee appointed by the parish, 
in the preparation of a collection of tunes as well, devoting 
"much time and labor in comparing and arranging such as were 
suited," writes his biographer, "either from their intrinsic 
value or from their sacred and tender associations, to the 
worship of the church; and I believe the Brattle Street Collection, 
though small, is esteemed a valuable collection of tunes, even 
by musicians . "^ 

1. Louis F. Benson, D.D. , The English Hymn, Its Developme nt and 
Use in Worship. Hodder & Stoughton. New York. George H. Dofan 
Company, 191^t" 

2. Ibid . , p. 173. 

3. Eliza Buckminster Lee, Memoirs of Rev . Joseph Buckm inster, D.D . 
and of his son, Rev. Joseph Stevens Buckminster. Win. Crosby and 
H. P. Nichols. Boston. 1849. 

4. The title page of the collection, as published in 1810, reads: 
LXXX Psalm and Hymn Tunes for Public, Worship,. Adap_t_ed to the 
^eTr~es~ uIe"d i£ churches. Boston. Printed by. Manning. & Lorj. ng, ISIO. 

The book is commonly known, however, as the Brajttle Street 
Collection , or, as the Brattle Square Collec tion. 

In the Lowell Mason Library, at the School of Music, Yale 
University, there may be seen a copy of the work. So, also, 
at The Library of Congress.